Nuclear ruins: Premier visits Fukushima before water dumping

After a brief visit to the Fukushima nuclear ruins, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to convince the fishing associations of the safety of the planned discharge of treated cooling water into the sea.

Nuclear ruins: Premier visits Fukushima before water dumping

After a brief visit to the Fukushima nuclear ruins, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to convince the fishing associations of the safety of the planned discharge of treated cooling water into the sea. The initiation is a long-term undertaking, "and it is necessary to deal with it continuously and accurately," Kishida told Japanese media on Sunday after visiting the nuclear facility.

On Monday he wanted to meet the chairman of the National Union of Fishermen's Associations (Zengyoren) in Tokyo and seek understanding for the project. When asked when the water discharge would begin, Kishida was quoted as saying, "I have to hold back at this point."

According to Japanese media reports, Kishida wants to meet the responsible ministers in his cabinet on Tuesday to decide when to start dumping the treated cooling water. It's expected to be by the end of this month or early September. In 2011, an earthquake and tsunami caused a core meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The reactors must be further cooled with water stored in tanks. Because space is running out, the water is to be channeled into the sea via a one-kilometer-long tunnel built in the Pacific. The disposal of the 1.3 million tons should take 30 years.

Strong resistance from fishermen

Before dumping, the water is treated. However, the filter system cannot filter out the radioactive isotope tritium. The operating company Tepco therefore wants to dilute the water in such a way that the tritium concentration drops to around 1500 becquerels per liter, which corresponds to less than a fortieth of the national safety standard. Since the government announced the release plan two years ago, it has met fierce opposition from Japanese fisheries organizations who fear it will further tarnish the reputation of their produce. You've been trying to recover in business since the super meltdown.

In addition to local fishermen, the government's plan is also met with great concern in neighboring countries such as China. Kishida's brief visit to the nuclear ruins came immediately after his return from a summit meeting with the US and South Korea at Camp David near Washington. Before flying back, he told Japanese reporters, "I think we've reached the final stage where the government should make a decision based on comprehensive consideration."

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