Any release of the water is expected to antagonize Japanese fishermen and raise concerns in neighboring countries
The Japanese government has decided to release radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. An official announcement is expected to be made this month, Kyodo News Agency and other Japanese media reported on Friday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has collected more than one million tons of contaminated water since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was crippled by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Japan’s Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said no decision had been made but the government planned to take one quickly.
“The closure of the plant in Fukushima Daiichi is an important prerequisite for restoring the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. To avoid delays in decommissioning, we need to make a decision quickly, ”he said at a press conference.
He did not provide any further details or a time frame.
The accumulation of contaminated water in Fukushima was a sticking point in the remediation project, which is expected to take decades, especially since Tokyo is slated to host the late Olympic Games next northern summer. Some events take place less than 60 kilometers from the destroyed facility.
Any release of the water is expected to antagonize Japanese fishermen and raise concerns in neighboring countries.
Last week, officials from the Japanese fishing industry urged the government not to allow the water to be released into the sea, saying it would undo years of work to restore its reputation.
South Korea maintained a seafood import ban from the Fukushima area imposed after the nuclear disaster and last year called on a senior official from the Japanese embassy to explain how to use water in Fukushima.
Earlier this year, a group of experts advising the Japanese government on the disposal of radioactive water from the facility recommended it be released into the ocean.
The Japanese Ministry of Industry has heard views from various parties, including fisheries officials, since April.
Some fisheries officials also visited Kajiyama on Thursday and refused to release the contaminated water into the sea.