TOKYO: Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.on Thursday started the construction of facilities to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from its disaster-crippled nuclear plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima.
TEPCO aims to complete the construction work around next spring, although the company said the completion might be pushed back to around summer next year if the work at sea is delayed due to bad weather or other factors.
There are lingering concerns about negative rumors related to the planned release of the water, which contains tritium, a radioactive substance, into the ocean. Understanding from related local people would be essential for TEPCO to start the water release after the completion of the facilities.
TEPCO will construct an undersea tunnel necessary for releasing the treated water at a point 1 kilometer off the coast. Tanks and pipes will also be set up for stirring the treated water and checking whether radioactive substances other than tritium are below safety standards.
Also, the company will build a facility to dilute the treated water, after its levels of radioactive substances are measured, with seawater to lower the tritium concentration to less than one-40th of the level permitted under Japanese safety standards.
On Thursday, TEPCO started laying pipes that will be used to transfer the treated water to the dilution facility. Undersea tunnel excavation work will begin as soon as shield machine inspections are completed.
Last month, the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO’s water release plan. On Tuesday, the Fukushima prefectural government and the town governments of Futaba and Okuma, where the Fukushima No. 1 plant is located, gave the green light for the company to begin the construction of facilities necessary for the water release.