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Japan takes another step toward releasing wastewater into sea

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The fishing industry around Japan’s Fukushima coast expressed disappointment and resignation over the weekend as long-expected plans to start releasing treated wastewater into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant moved one step closer to reality.

Late last week, Japan’s national nuclear regulator formally endorsed the plan to discharge more than 1 million tons of wastewater from the plant into the sea off Japan’s Pacific coast.

The water will be filtered first to remove about 60 radioactive isotopes, except tritium, which can’t be extracted using existing technology.

After inspection and dilution with seawater, the water will be pumped out beyond Japan’s fishing zones through a 0.6-mile-long undersea tunnel, which will be carved through ocean bedrock starting near the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s reactor number 5.

The unprecedented, controversial disposal operation is likely to take decades, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company has long warned that it will run out of storage space.

To assuage concerns from neighboring countries, Japan sought a review by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Last spring, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi declared ocean disposal “both technically feasible and in line with international practice.”

Still, some experts have called for greater transparency, fearing unintended consequences of the operation. There is also concern about whether the discharge of enormous amounts of wastewater could set a bad precedent for dealing with future nuclear accidents.

Editor at! I am Olivia Mansah Makafui. With my interest in being abreast with all the happenings around the world, I resort to writing articles at where we keep you updated with the most accurate information, considering entertainment, sports, politics and news in general.

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