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Russia, China concerned over Japan’s plans to dump Fukushima radioactive water — statement

The Japanese government made a decision on April 13, 2021, to dump part of contaminated water from the accident-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean

BEIJING, February 4. /TASS/. Russia and China are concerned over Japan’s plans to dump contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, both countries said in a joint statement on Friday.

"Japan's plans to release nuclear contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean and the potential environmental impact of such actions are of deep concern to the sides," the statement reads.

In this regard, Moscow and Beijing emphasized that "the disposal of nuclear contaminated water should be handled with responsibility" and carried out in a proper manner based on arrangements between the Japanese side, neighboring states and international organizations.

Russia and China also urged to ensure transparency and "scientific reasoning" in this process.

The Japanese government made a decision on April 13 last year to dump part of contaminated water from the accident-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. As the Japanese side explained, basically treated radioactive water would be dumped. However, it still contained tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope. As Japan assured, its amount was 40 times below the safety norm. Despite that, Tokyo’s plans evoked harsh criticism from China and South Korea.

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. The Japanese government officially permitted to release a significant amount of Fukushima-1 water into the ocean. The water is expected to be dumped into the ocean gradually in small amounts over 30 years. The International Atomic Energy Agency has already announced that it will control this process on a permanent basis.

Fukushima NPP disaster

The Fukushima-1 NPP disaster occurred in March 2011 when a tsunami damaged the power plant’s cooling and power supply systems, 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 the drainage system and eventually mixes with ground and ocean water.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) specialists constantly pump away this water and put it into special steel reservoirs located on the plant’s territory. However, more than a thousand of them have already been piled up there. The space for these tanks is running out and the limit may be reached already in the summer of 2022. About 140 tonnes of specially treated water are being pumped into them daily. As the Japanese side says, the liquid will be further treated to reduce the amount of tritium before its release into the ocean.