Japan Digs Tunnel to Release Fukushima Water

Operators of Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant have revealed plans to build an undersea tunnel to release over a million tons of treated water into the sea.

The one-kilometer tunnel was announced on Wednesday, two years after the Japanese government released the accumulated water. 

In addition to being diluted, the water will be processed to remove almost all radioactive elements. 

But the April decision sparked a furious reaction from neighbors and local fishermen. 

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it would begin construction on the tunnel in March 2022, pending approval from authorities.

It will be about 2.5 meters in diameter and extend east into the Pacific from the plant’s treated water tanks. It includes water used to cool the plant, which was crippled after a massive tsunami in 2011, and rain and groundwater.

On Wednesday, Akira Ono, the plant’s chief decommissioning officer, said that releasing the water through a tunnel would help prevent it from flowing back to the shore.

“We will thoroughly explain our safety policies and the measures we are taking against reputation damage so that we can dispel concerns held by people involved in fisheries,” Ono said.

Tepco said in a statement that it was ready to pay compensation for reputation damage related to the release.

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