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Japan aims to release radioactive water from Fukushima to the sea

The Japanese Ministry of Economy and Industry on Monday proposed the gradual release or evaporation of a large amount of processed and radioactive water stored at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was devastated by a tsunami in March 2011. In its proposal to a group of experts, the Ministry reduced for the first time the options available to these two possibilities. The objective was to solve a growing problem for the plant manager, who is running out of storage space, despite fear of a negative public reaction. The preliminary proposal had yet to be discussed. Almost nine years after the core fusions in three reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the radioactive water continues to accumulate due to the use of this liquid to cool the damaged reactor cores. Water is stored in tanks to prevent it from ending up in the ocean and other environments. A government committee has spent years discussing how to manage the crisis and reassure fishermen and neighbors, who fear possible health effects if radioactive water is released, as well as damage to the region's image and fishing industry. The fishermen of Fukushima and the Associations of the National Cooperative Federation of Fisheries have opposed the government's proposals to see the water in the sea, warning of an “incalculable impact on the future of the Japanese fishing industry”. In its proposal this Monday, the Ministry suggested a controlled release of water to the Pacific, allowing water to evaporate. The government pointed out that controlled dumping into the sea was the best option because it would allow the plant to “dilute and disperse in a stable way” and could be adequately monitored. The process was expected to take years and radiation levels to remain below the legal limit, according to the proposal. Experts who have inspected the plant, including those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, have repeatedly supported the controlled release of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant at sea as the only realistic option.

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