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Russia waiting for Japan’s explanations over plans to dump Fukishima water into ocean

Russia also expects Japan to permit radiation monitoring in the release area should the need arise.

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Russia is waiting for detailed explanations from Japan regarding all aspects of its planned discharge of water from the accident-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP), the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We express serious concern in this regard and expect the government of Japan to demonstrate due transparency, informing the states concerned about its actions that might pose a radiation threat. We are waiting for more detailed explanations on all aspects of the planned discharge of radioactive water into the ocean," the statement says.

At the same time, Russia expects Japan to permit radiation monitoring in the release area should the need arise.

"We hope that Tokyo would approach this important issue with all due seriousness, will take the necessary measures to minimize the negative impact on marine environment <…> and will not create difficulties for other states’ economic activities, such as fishing," the document says.

Moscow also expressed its regret over the fact that Tokyo chose not to hold consultations with Russia and other neighboring countries before making the decision to release water from Fukishima-1.

"Official information, provided by Japan on this issue, is insufficient. Among other things, it contains no assessment of environmental risks that the above-mentioned decision may entail for the Pacific Region," she said.

The Fukushima-1 disaster took place in March, 2011, when a tsunami damaged cooling and power supply systems at the power plant, which led to nuclear fuel meltdown in three reactors. The fuel burned through the protective shielding. In order to cool down the fuel, the reactors are being constantly pumped with water, which leaks through holes, fills underground levels and drainage system, and eventually mixes with ground and ocean water.

The Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) specialists constantly pump away this water and put it into special steel reservoirs, located at the plant’s territory. However, space for these tanks is running out, forcing Japan to consider dumping decontaminated water into the ocean. Japan’s neighbors, especially South Korea, expressed their concerns over such plans, calling this step hazardous for the environment.

At present, over 1.25 million tonnes of water are being stored in steel tanks on the territory of the accident-hit power plant. The water has reportedly been purified of all harmful radioactive substances except for tritium, as there is no technology to rid the water of it. On Tuesday, the Japanese government officially permitted to release into the ocean a significant amount of Fukushima-1 water. Preparations for the release are expected to take about two years.