This photo shows tanks (in gray, beige and blue) storing water that was treated but still radioactive after it was used to cool down spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, on Feb 27. Photo: AP/Hiro Komae
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Japan asks IAEA support for Fukushima tank water release

50 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Let me put that in layman’s terms.

Japan is faced with the decision of either housing an ever-increasing number of giant metal cans of radioactive water, a giant blotch on the landscape of Fukushima, not to mention the health risk the cans pose.

Or toss all of that toxic water into the godly Pacific, and risk poisoning her, and every other country or person who has a connection to her.

This one is a decision for the gods.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

well, less a decision of the gods , and more a question of, do we manage our own waste, or toss it over the neighbour’s fence.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

government is now in the final stage before announcing what to do with the water

....and the options are?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

“massive amounts of treated but still-radioactive water”

Whoever signs off on this will be having sleepless nights for the rest of their lives...

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Can someone explain what it means to be treated but still radioactive? Is that a way to make things sound OK, when they're not?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Grossi said the IAEA will give full backing to Kajiyama’s request for a safety review of the release of radioactive water into the sea, once Japan makes a final decision.

So, Japan is saying to the IAEA, "Please cover our backs and tell the world that it is OK for us to discharge the waste."

The IAEA is answering, " No way, Jose. It's your mess, so you take the rap."

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Little late, asking the IAEA for assistance, isn't it?

They should take care of their own mess they created without burdening other(s) countries with their inability!

This keeps on going to be a "Never Ending Story"!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I thought Japan was way ahead of the game? Fooled me.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Can someone explain what it means to be treated but still radioactive? Is that a way to make things sound OK, when they're not?

It refers to the fact that the water was treated to remove the radioactive contaminants (such as strontium90 and iodine129) excluding tritium (that cannot be removed, and tritium is considered to be relatively harmless).

17 ( +18 / -1 )

....and the options are?

A - Dump it into the ocean with the backing of the IAEA.

B - Dump it into the ocean.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Get ready, it is coming.

Okaasan pass the glowing three eyed fish please.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Ask the IOC and JOC for permission. Then they can really tout this as the recovery Olympics.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

 Japanese officials have said the country will ensure the highest levels of safety and transparency, in order to gain understanding from the international community about the planned water release.

HA!! THAT'LL Be a FIRST! I'll believe it when I see it!

>

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Tritium has been suggested as as a safer nuclear fuel than uranium from the contamination point of view, so why not continue to store it and look for ways of getting it in pure form? If it cannot be extracted from the water, what about extracting the water from it (e.g. by evaporation)?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

So this is where Strong Zero comes from.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Yeah, common sense tells me that the organization will not back it. Japanese logical (really illogical thinking) shinning through!

Japanese government will pull, "You are attacking my culture! You do not understand Japan." Then they will no longer mention it in the media, and secretly dump the water anyway!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Pathetic.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

As officials struggle to finalize the water removal plan, they say cooperation with outside experts is crucial."

Right..so after refusing almost all foreign assistance with the Daichi mess since 2011 Japan suddenly sees " cooperation with outside " as crucial. In other words when LDP faces pissed off public at election time they wanna be able to point a finger at gaikoku and say " they told us it's fine to do it. As usual.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Okaasan pass the glowing three eyed fish please

Already glowing mate. For 10 years it has been flowing into the sea and groundwater.

large areas of Fukushima will be dangerous for humans to live in for at least 50 years. It’s not so difficult to build masses of concrete pits in this area. Just some concrete, a digger and pumping system.

the water is not totally treated. It also contains not only tritium, but Carbon-14 and Plutonium.

the IAEA main goal is to promote Nuclear power. Of course they are not biased...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Japanese officials have said the country will ensure the highest levels of safety and transparency,

Yeah Right... just like the high levels of safety and transparency they showed prior to the damn disaster, leading up to the meltdown. The head liars in charge of TEPCO were warned , advised and told to take safety precautions and ignored the strong urging to do so.

the highest levels of safety and transparency, .....................................does not exist in this country.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

So, it has been already a decade since the accident. If our government is asking IAEA now, and not like 8 years ago what to do with the waste, it implies there was never a real plan, it was more likely "those who come next will deal with that".

By the way, is my memory so bad, but did our government refuse all the foreign help back in 2011 claiming we can deal with that and it's not as bad as it seems?

support carrying out the future release of massive amounts of treated but still-radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, most likely into the sea.

A government panel’s recommendation that the radioactive water be gradually released into the sea has faced fierce opposition from local residents, and a decision is still pending.

Kajiyama told Grossi that his government is now in the final stage before announcing what to do with the water.

What to do with the water? Of course our government will dump it into the sea. What else can they do with it while not spending too much money? Dump it into the sea. One may be not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I think it's obvious you can't drink it or just make it into vapour.

Basically, right now they want an approval of the idea of dumping it into the ocean. Once they do or start doing it, we will be getting (again) nice charts and numbers of how the radioactivity hasn't increased in the area and it's fine (nevermind the three-eyed fish that jumped out of the water and is walking on the beach now). Maybe they will create a new mascot or other character for "supporting safe disposal of the radioactive water".

Our government never listened to anyone. They had an idea, plan and a goal. And if anyone advised it may not be a good idea, they did it anyway. Because they had a goal.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The goal of the IAEA is to promote the 'safe' use of nuclear power.

They will do what they can to facilitate the resumption of nuclear power in Japan, and Kajimayama's statement suggests that they have already decided to release it, and just want the IAEA 'stamp' on it.

This sounds the same as Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority approving the resumption of power generation at a number of local plants, before evacuation plans, containments walls, and emergency control facilities were even built. Approval should be given after these have been completed, not before.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Russia, America, Britain, Germany, and other countries dump highly radioactive waste into the oceans for decades.

https://www.dw.com/en/fukushima-how-the-ocean-became-a-dumping-ground-for-radioactive-waste/a-52710277

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Russia, America, Britain, Germany, and other countries dump highly radioactive waste into the oceans for decades.

https://www.dw.com/en/fukushima-how-the-ocean-became-a-dumping-ground-for-radioactive-waste/a-527102772"

Exactly. A fact the everyone seems to forget.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Japanese officials have said the country will ensure the highest levels of safety and transparency

There isn't such thing as transparency in Japan because it is so corrupted. And that's the same corruption and fraud which were responsible for this disaster in the first place so I find quit irritating that Japan is crying like a baby for help now.

Russia, America, Britain, Germany, and other countries dump highly radioactive waste into the oceans for decades.

Exactly. A fact the everyone seems to forget.

Yes sure that was shameful but so what? That does not give Japan the right to do so now since this practice has been banned.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I think the IAEA will support it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People read "radioactive" and think of Chernobyl and two headed dogs. The contamination in this water is the same or even less than that of water that released without fanfare around the world on a daily basis. The only solution to the waste water problem is and always was going to be a slow release into the sea. "Dilution is the solution" Sadly people have been programmed to believe that eating fish from Fukushima will result in death. So of course the fishing industry around Fukushima (whats left of it) will take a hit. Throw the fishermen some cash. The real problem is public perception not the level of contamination.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

A slow release into the ocean should not be a problem. There is already radioactively naturally occurring in water and atmosphere.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If there is really no danger, the govt should release the irradiated water to concide with the beginning of the Olympics.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When water evaporates, it leaves behind nonvolatile impurities. This means that, if you boil a pot of water, any nonvolatile radionuclides will stay in the pot. In fact, since you have boiled off some of the water, you'll have the same amount of radioactive material dissolved in a smaller amount of water.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is such an easy decision to make.

1) Is the water radioactive or not? Yes or no?

If "Yes", can it be treated properly to make it safe? Yes? Then release it into the ocean.

If "No", leave it in storage.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Whoever signs off on this will be having sleepless nights for the rest of their lives...

They won't. In this country it's possible to write off absolutely anything with a "We didn't have choice" aka "Shiyoganai".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A solution needs to be found but dumping it in the ocean isn't it.

In a press release, Greenpeace said: "There is no justification for additional, deliberate radioactive pollution of the marine environment or atmosphere."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I would give such a permission under these conditions. Filter out all the radioactive material out of it, make it as clean as drinking water and after the Prime Minister drinks a glass of it. Then and ONLY then you can release it in the ocean...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After 10 years, we still don't understand why IAEA did not make it a point to help or advise Japanese authorities or TEPCO to clear this nuclear reactor explosion mess.

Only now is Japan asking IAEA for support to get rid of the contaminated water in those numerous giant tanks? Unbelievable.

What is IAEA for if it does not take any initiative to look for amicable solution in such needy situation?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

venzeToday 12:16 pm JST

After 10 years, we still don't understand why IAEA did not make it a point to help or advise Japanese authorities or TEPCO to clear this nuclear reactor explosion mess.

What is IAEA for if it does not take any initiative to look for amicable solution in such needy situation?

TEPCO/our government refused help 10 years ago! They were offered help several times. But it was dismissed as everything is under control.

Read "Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Information Sheet" IAEA.

On Jun 20, 2011, Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety was released.

Then May 27,2011 IAEA visited - https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2011/201105-e/110527-01e.html.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Whoever signs off on this will be having sleepless nights for the rest of their lives...

They won't. In this country it's possible to write off absolutely anything with a "We didn't have choice" aka "Shiyoganai".

Indeed...plus a nice cushy amakudari post with tons of money for doing nothing will cushion any possible sleeplessness.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why not dumping it into Inawashiro lake ? Should be big enough if the radioactivity is so low.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And they would have to keep dumping continuously for another 300 years?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's authorities thinks that draining contaminated water to ocean is lower cost than expanding place to put for new tank.

Japan prioritizes to reduce cost than defending health or lives of people.

Japanese government only wants to get "method" to deceive general public from IAEA.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There will be two possibilities.

Japan shoulder the costs to house and keep those nuclear wastes in water tanks for thousands of years. At a huge cost!

Japan finances the United States to take those nuclear wastes somewhere in the American wilderness. At a huge cost of paying the money as well as political favors to the US!

Or toss all of that toxic water into the godly Pacific, and risk poisoning her, and every other country or person who has a connection to her.

Imagine the economic sanctions towards Japan from China, South Korea, Taiwan and even the US if it happens.

Especially with China. The CCP just approved many important projects from Toyota to Fast Retailing in the country. The release of nuclear wastes will surely anger China alot, and those oyajis will have their pockets ruined by China shutting down those investments.

"Russia, America, Britain, Germany, and other countries dump highly radioactive waste into the oceans for decades.

They are superpower countries with real armies and nuclear weapons. Japan doesn't.

Japanese nationalists sometimes need to understand their place in the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No other way but to release the water into the ocean but not the near sea of Fukushima where fishermen are strongly opposed. Dump the water in the Pacific Ocean far away from Fukushima.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Again most posters on here have absolutely no idea what is in the water and how dangerous it is or in this case..isn't.

The government have done a terrible job educating a population brought up equating radiation with atomic bombs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If a similar accident happens in other country, any government will relocate people to other place by order. Japanese government listens to people too much. They want to live there again. It costs huge tax money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am betting that the torch relay won't pass this area....

I agree with those that say Japan is trying CYA here. But my (imperfect) understanding is that this is pretty low-level stuff and even though it seems like a lot of water, compared to the body they are dumping it in, it's infinitesimal.

Am I missing something here? I am actually asking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As far as my knowledge and studies go I find it strange that they did not dump it as it was cleaned up. Very very common radioactive weak material.

Tritium

Tritium is a naturally occurring radioactive form of hydrogen that is produced in the atmosphere when cosmic rays collide with air molecules. As a result, tritium is found in very small or trace amounts in groundwater throughout the world. It is also a byproduct of the production of electricity by nuclear power plants. Tritium emits a weak form of radiation, a low-energy beta particle similar to an electron. The tritium radiation does not travel very far in air and cannot penetrate the skin.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Tritium has been suggested as as a safer nuclear fuel than uranium from the contamination point of view, so why not continue to store it and look for ways of getting it in pure form? If it cannot be extracted from the water, what about extracting the water from it (e.g. by evaporation)?

Tritium (which is hydrogen) is part of the water molecules itself. So I guess evaporation will not help. Also, to evaporate so much water they probably need to build another nuclear plant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Problems. A lack of space to build even more tanks. Many of the temporary tanks that were built during the emergency are reaching or have already passed their life expectancy, e.g. they are rusting, cracking and shifting.

So, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Don't DUMP, but pour out in a measured way, through several outlets, including way out to sea if possible, further treating when necessary, and also use evaporation tanks in parallel. Just enough to relieve the pressure, and take your time. Time is a friend when it comes to half-lives. (Remember that China and Korea and Russia, to name some nearby countries, are also regularly pouring tritium-tainted waters into their own oceans.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They will have to dump it in the ocean. Ideally, they would examine currents to determine the best place.

There are no good options with nuclear. The least worst here is to dissolve it in a very, very large ocean. That doesn't mean it is OK. It's just the only viable option. If they just leave it in an ever-increasing number of tanks, the next quake will shatter them.

This is the least of the problems they face. The technology for dealing with the melted core material does not yet exist. They don't even have somewhere ready for ordinary nuclear waste, never mind the really dangerous stuff, when/if they can ever extract it.

However much they fret over this release, which is a relatively low level risk in terms of radioactive waste issues, there will be far tougher challenges ahead, Fukushima Daiichi will cost zillions of Yen, and the rest of Japan's waste will take generations to deal with. This is what happens when you fiddle the numbers, ignoring the TCO of nuclear power.

Whoever sold Japan nuclear as cheap and environmentally clean should be forced to work on radioactive waste clean-up and tending, for the rest of their lives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Pacific Ocean . . . Ye' ole dumping ground.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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