Action plan for release of Fukushima treated water

NHK -- Dec 28
Japan's government has compiled a plan to address any reputational damage to industries after water from a crippled nuclear power plant is released into the ocean.

Fukushima Daiichi in northeastern Japan suffered a triple meltdown in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The water was used to cool molten fuel and became contaminated with radioactive materials. It mixed with groundwater and rain seeping into damaged reactor buildings. The water has since been treated and stored in tanks, but still contains radioactive tritium. The facility has more than 1,000 tanks for such water. These are expected to reach capacity after autumn next year.

The government says the plant operator will release the water into the ocean around the spring of 2023, after diluting the concentration of tritium to one-40th of the level allowed under national regulations.

The government held a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers and came up with the plan on Tuesday.

The plan calls for publicizing at home and abroad an interim assessment of the impact of the water release to be compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency next year.

The plan also incorporates mid- to long-term measures to prevent reputational damage to local industries, especially fisheries. As part of such efforts, the marketing of local fisheries products will be supported by a fund worth about 260 million dollars that has been approved in this fiscal year's supplementary budget.

The plan also says compensation criteria will be decided, and the application procedure for damages will be made public before the start of the water release.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said while the government's scientific explanations for the release of the water have been positively accepted abroad, many local municipalities and those in farming and fisheries industries are concerned about possible reputational damage.