TEPCO seeks permission to dump groundwater from Fukushima plant into ocean

TOKYO —

Officials from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Monday met with a Fukushima fisheries cooperative to seek its members’ permission to dump groundwater from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

The contaminated water storage has been a problem since early in the accident. TEPCO officials acknowledged last month that a lack of storage space has become a “crisis.” TEPCO has promised to speed up building more reliable steel tanks and eventually empty the underground tanks.

Runoff from the three reactors melted in the aftermath of the March 2011 quake-tsunami and a steady inflow of groundwater seeping into the basement of their damaged buildings produce about 400 tons of contaminated water daily at the plant.

TEPCO says 280,000 tons of contaminated water has been stored in tanks on the plant, and the amount would double within a few years. 

At Monday’s meeting, TEPCO officials outlined their plan to the fishermen’s cooperative in which it hopes to divert groundwater into the ocean, TV Asahi reported. TEPCO said only water with low radioactivity would be dumped.

A spokesman for the fishermen was quoted by TV Asahi as saying it would be difficult to give approval to such a plan but added that the cooperative will study the plan.

TEPCO also needs the central government’s approval to implement such a plan.

Japan Today/AP

  • 13

    Yubaru

    Just say NO!

  • 3

    SushiSake3

    "the cooperative will study the plan."

    Doesn't that mean "do nothing for at least 5 years and if they push us, set up a 'Rapid Response' committee to do nothing even more slowly"?

  • -3

    Harry_Gatto

    Bag it up and drop it in the Marianas Trench. The Pacific Ocean is vast and a few hundred thousand tons of contaminated water would be insignificant.

  • 4

    Hiroicci

    With the LDP in power, TEPCO has as good as got the permission.

    How does TEPCO justify doing all this? Has it been just saying that there's no space for that anymore???

  • 3

    NZ2011

    Not sure how to find the old post, but this is exactly what I said would happen with the last round of what has basically become PR for this company when they were complaining that "oh poor, us we are running out of space".

    Now with the LDP in power this madness will continue for the next 40-100yr, and no doubt other issues at the other plants they allow to be re-started as has happened and been brushed over again and again.

  • 5

    tmarie

    Asking for permission? Guess they have so much of it that they knew they couldn't get away with claiming things were "leaking". And ask the fisheries? They shouldn't be asked as they shouldn't even be fishing. How about asking the US, Canada and anyone else who borders on an ocean.

  • 13

    smithinjapan

    This request only means they've already done it.

  • 8

    YongYang

    And who for a moment believes that radioactive isotopes haven't been flowing into the ocean from the 3 Level 7 catastrophes anyway? Of course the contamination of the marine environment has been ongoing. As for the lie that the structure withstood the earthquake, that it was the tsunami that truly exposed man's folly... how is it 400 tons of ground water gets into the structures every day. Permeation? What a shower of lies, cover-up, deception and insanity.

  • 4

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Um... no you can not. Anything else? You want to dump it in the drinking water too? How very scary..

  • 3

    Farmboy

    Well, I imagine they will get their way, and then there goes the fishing industry on the entire east coast, as well as ALL exports of fish, veggies, etc. to other countries. We won't even mention the impact on health.

    TEPCO said only water with low radioactivity would be dumped.

    This decision will mean that radiation, low or high-level, will go into the water forever, and that they have given up on a real solution. The level of the radiation will only affect the speed at which it will build up in the environment. It WILL build up in the environment, and WILL affect it.

  • 6

    Scrote

    TEPCO has had plenty of time to build more tanks and there is ample space around the plant. This is just another ruse to save money: why bother treating the water when you can just dump it in the sea? TEPCO disgusts me, why aren't its executives in jail?

  • 12

    zichi

    The Fukushima fishery industry is done for.

  • 7

    Moonraker

    TEPCO said only water with low radioactivity would be dumped.

    Ha ha. Good one, TEPCO. Just keep diluting it, right? Plus no-one will ever really know, right? Plus you are a pretty trustworthy company, right?

  • 0

    ohayo206

    Why are you asking permission?? It will be no, if you ask.

  • 2

    GW

    Since the begining I have said the overflow will end up in the ocean its simply the ONLY place & folks contaminated groundwater has been leaking into the ocean, its a non-stoppable daily occurance & will be for many decades+.

    You simply CANNOT stop mother nature, any storage can only hope to delay it getting into the ocean, gravity is unstoppable over time, tepco simply wants to cut out the middle man or rather woman, mother nature because she is slowly but surely pushing this into the ocean. I mean surely you all remember the WATER CYCLE from your early years of geography

  • 4

    tmarie

    The Fukushima fishery industry is done for.

    Well let's be honest, it should've been done in 3/11 two years ago but...

  • 5

    gogogo

    No permission from me and I'm sure everyone else including other countries... You made the problem now deal with it

  • 1

    Bruce Miller

    Not many options. Very sad.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    Even if the Government says no, the contaminated water will be gone in the future.

  • 5

    Disillusioned

    Ha bloody ha! Why are they asking for permission? It has been leaking into the ocean since the start! I can't see them being granted permission to do this because of the public outrage it will create both domestically and internationally, but I have no doubt that, if they are not granted permission to dump it they have a 'most regrettable' accident and the water will be released into the ocean anyway. They have known about this problem accumulating since the outset and now, two years later, they wanna dump it into the ocean cos they can't store it. Is 'project management' a part of business studies in Japan? I can't wait to see the reaction when this hits international news.

  • 7

    zichi

    TEPCO has had plenty of time to build more tanks and there is ample space around the plant.

    TEPCO are rapidly using up its space inside the plant and even placing them next to the plant border causes a radiation problem since the tanks are releasing radiation higher than 1 millisievert which is the acceptable level the level of radiation at the plant borders or perimeter is also increasing. There's plenty of land around the plant which will be off limits for decades but to build tanks on them will first still require the permission of the owner and somekind of permission from the gov't's since it will also increase the level of radiation. The water tanks are all very temporary structures and since the disaster will take many decades there will alway be the possibility of another tsunami hitting the plant and destroying those tanks.

  • 4

    Get Real

    To anyone who has ever negotiated in Japanese, the fishermen's language is unambiguous..

    A spokesman for the fishermen was quoted by TV Asahi as saying it would be difficult to give approval to such a plan but added that the cooperative will study the plan.

    "it would be difficult" aka "No effing way, Jose"

    "the cooperative will study the plan" aka "Thanks for lunch. Oh, and, err, we'll call you."

  • 11

    Disillusioned

    What ever happened to their fantastically innovative water filtering system they were raving about not so long ago? Were they talking about the ocean?

  • 5

    ohayo206

    The fantastically innovative water filteration system is called "media damage control".

  • 2

    In_japan

    In these 2 yrs, they could have made a water recycle plant which could be re-use for coolant ??? Here is a journal Lacy & Laguna (1958) hope they will READ this. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50584a044

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    The theory of this makes sense, though, assuming groundwater flows downhill towards the sea. They want to drill the twelve wells upstream of the plant, filling with presumably pristine pre-contamination water, and then send this clean water round to the ocean, before it enters the plant and wells up into the wrecked reactor basements.

    That way they are hoping to cut down in advance on some amount of the fresh water being contaminated with radiation and having to be filtered and dealt with daily, yes/no?

  • 7

    Eppee

    No, you cannot pollute the shared oceans with your crap, build new and safe tanks and store it locally !!

  • 5

    zichi

    In these 2 yrs, they could have made a water recycle plant which could be re-use for coolant ???

    There is a cleaning and recycling water plant built by French and American companies but it can't deal with the volume being produced.

  • 1

    Harry_Gatto

    Something that has just occurred to me and I have no idea if it is at all practical: If the contaminated water is left in large shallow open pools then the water will slowly evaporate, as in salt pans etc. and leave behind anything which has been dissolved in the water. Is the water vapour which evaporates into the atmosphere dangerous or is it just water and nothing else? If it is OK then the remaining radioactive residue will be much easier to deal with being of much smaller volume. Is it practical to do this?

  • 5

    zichi

    The radiation level of the contaminated cooling water plus ground water is about 10 sieverts/ hour. Way to high to be put into open pools plus the volume would increase with rain especially during the typhoon season.

  • 0

    In_japan

    @ Zichi: There is a cleaning and recycling water plant built by French and American companies but it can't deal with the volume being produced.

    Thanks for the info, but little curious though; before 3/11, they could process all contaminated water efficiently what is wrong now? and if they really want to lower the ground water level I think they should use the other side and not the TEPCO side where contamination is happening.

  • 0

    Ron Barnes

    It looks like their a law unto themselves all say no and Jail all of the management as it is already leaking into the ocean through the ground water ,also the company and Government have not learnt from this incident how power-full nature is so their is no safe place to construct or run an nuclear reactor of any kind in the world so why build more for overseas countries it is wrong.

  • 1

    In_japan

    TEPCO said only water with low radioactivity would be dumped.

    Ground water in one hand and contaminated water in another hand. Mix them and take the reading BINGO!!! what a solution.

  • 2

    mtwildman

    How much cash did TEPCO pay to Fukushima fisheries cooperative for getting the deal done...

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    The title is miss guiding they want to develop a bypass pumping ground water from a well before it reaches the power plant and dump the pumped water into sea.

  • 7

    zichi

    In_Japan

    Thanks for the info, but little curious though; before 3/11, they could process all contaminated water efficiently what is wrong now? and if they really want to lower the ground water level I think they should use the other side and not the TEPCO side where contamination is happening.

    Before the nuclear disaster, and when the atomic plant was operating as designed, there wasn't any contaminated water. Water was used used to cool the reactors and to generate steam to drive the steam turbines. In the nuclear disaster, the fuel inside reactors 1-3 melted down burn a hole in the bottom of the reactor vessels and dropped onto the floor of the steel and concrete containment vessel. An enormous amount of heat was produced along with hydrogen gas which exploded and destroyed reactor buildings 1-4.

    The earthquake and maybe the heat damaged those containment vessels and the suppression chambers in the basements. TEPCO needs to pump cooling water into those containment vessels and leaves the water very contaiminated. Its recycled to a cleaning plant so it can be used again. But a large quantity of that cooling water leaks out of the cracks in the containment and compression vessels and out into the basement area. Ground water is also leaking into the basements increasing the volume of water.

    The radiation levels in the basements is more than 10 sieverts/ hour, making it impossible for the workers to go in and repair the cracks. It will take decades for the radiation level to drop to safe levels.

    TEPCO also needs to pump cooling water into the 1-4 spent fuel pools.

  • 2

    In_japan

    Thanks Zichi you're the man with info. Now I feel wet, too much water lol

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    The radiation levels in the basements is more than 10 sieverts/ hour, making it impossible for the workers to go in and repair the cracks. It will take decades for the radiation level to drop to safe levels.

    Ah, but, nuclear power is safe, right? And yet, Abe wants to restart the existing ones and has plans to build more. It seems there has been no urgency what-so-ever to solve the issues at the Fukushima plant and the government is just sitting back and waiting until they can re-open the others. It is a bloody disgrace that it has come to this. They will receive permission to do this and will dodge any backlash from it by a few deep bows and stating, "it is regrettable".

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    Here's the thing: water has been leaking into the ocean for some time now, and I've no doubt there's been some dumping to boot. TEPCO needs to dump more because it's the most cost-effective solution for the company. Being granted permission by the government, which they likely will, absolves them or most if not all 'guilt' and they cannot be tried for it in the future because they were given the green light.

  • 0

    muttinjapan

    Something so infuriating - and there is too much to be p-ssed about in this situation - is that somehow TEPCO and Abe govt. behave as if this crisis will only effect local fishing, completing ignoring the global impact.

    All along there has been no shame or responsibility about the effects of this true disaster on the entire Pacific - it's all somehow 'out there' and 'none of our concern' - I hate to say it but it's a very corporate Japanese view of the world - the local fishing guys?! My heart goes out to them but this is a much much larger problem.

    The international community should put pressure on Abe to STOP this immediately...what a sick joke. Build the tanks, it's a national emergency! It can be done and must be - don't cop out and make others across the sea pay the price. Arrogant b-s-trds.

  • 0

    Gaijin Desi

    And the next GODZILLA will come from Fukushima sea.

  • 0

    tapi0ca

    Round up the original bunch, i.e. Tepco incompetents, Government look-the-other-ways, the figure and number fudges... and make them drink it. Tea time.

  • 4

    zichi

    For sure some contaminated water leaks into the ocean, there are too many cracks.

    TEPCO wants to divert ground water before it reaches the plant so I see no problem there. It also wants to dump low level contaminated water but I don't know the radiation levels or the quantity.

  • 0

    nicolls

    it only takes a few cracks. sounds like a really big problem. no way to fully anti-radioactive suit up n repair those cracks? or like some mechanical robot float down to pump cement into it(although how will it dry...etc)

  • 0

    Open Minded

    Officials from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Monday met with a Fukushima fisheries cooperative to seek its members’ permission to dump groundwater from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

    Wait a minute!

    Who has the authority to give this permission? Even though badly impacted by this disaster, I do not believe the fishermen or fisheries have anything to agree or disagree.

    The scope is far beyond their own business.

  • 0

    Qamar

    How to genetically mutate/kill marine creatures in 1 simple step. Mutated fish=> sold cheaper => eaten by humans...and guess what? I cannot believe this.

  • 0

    Qamar

    and yes I'm assuming what would happen.

  • 0

    Ron Barnes

    Their is a very simple solution it is called water glass used to be used to prevent eggs going rotten, add to cooling water and as it leaks it will gradually seal the leaks add a little pepper it will do the same add latex the same way will block up everything. ps fill with egg pulp and rice flower or corn starch and whamo blocked up. as good as the rats causing power failures when not knowing what to do. ............................P s really why not just inject the ground around the area with concrete. It is that simple...................................

  • 0

    Larry Duglass

    The Japanese government and TEPCO are guilty of possibly the greatest crime of all time with the non-handling of Fukushima. The Japanese people are guilty of complacency for not holding their government to task and properly doing something about this.

    Absolutely disgusting. It seems to be the Japanese cultural attitude to never question authority and stick their heads in the sand as if nothing is wrong.

    It would be no big deal if you were just killing your own people but your incompetence is irradiating the world.

  • 2

    Rick Kisa

    Oceans are global goods. Therefore permission is not only sought from Japan but from international community. During 3/11 Tsunami, debris from Fukushima was found in Canada and americas. Therefore, the dangerous contaminated water will not only stop at the shores of Japan but will move the whole world: Africa, Arctic, Africa, America, australia, etc leaving dead or contaminated ecosystems in its wake. Thats is how nuke plants are expensive for u!!

  • 0

    mtwildman

    TEPCO did this... http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/05/absolutely-every-one-of-the-15-bluefin-tuna-tested-in-california-waters-contaminated-with-fukushima-radiation.html Now they want to dump contaminated water into the sea...can anyone stop these villains?

  • 0

    J2DAY

    As long as the radioactive waste remains in liquid form it can leak into whatever is below it as soon as its storage vessel is compromised. Only a matter of time. Has anyone given serious thought to adding something to the contaminated water to solidify it? Then at least it could be transported without fear of leaking as a liquid. It will still be spewing out radiation and will only be manageable with the use of large machinery but it's a start. And if rationed into small enough containers then maybe a century from now we can launch it into space one load at a time, directed at the nearest black hole. Until then, the best way to mitigate the damage is to immobilize the poison.

    If it can't be hardened completely perhaps the liquid can be sectioned off into small pockets, similarly to how styrofoam is basically pockets of air separated by insulating structure. Radiation cannot be stopped, but it can be insulated. The more pockets the solidifying/insulating material has, the more the radiation will bounce around inside it, lessening the emissions. At least that's the best proposal I can come up with with what knowledge I have. I challenge the scientific and engineering communities to scrutinize and test it.

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