Fukushima nuclear water to be released via undersea tunnel

The aim is to avoid interference with local fishing

Updated - November 22, 2021 09:42 pm IST

Published - August 25, 2021 10:57 pm IST - Tokyo

A file photo of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town.

A file photo of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town.

The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Wednesday it plans to build an undersea tunnel so that massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water can be released into the ocean about 1 km away from the plant to avoid interference with local fishing.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, said it hopes to start releasing the water in spring 2023. TEPCO says hundreds of storage tanks at the plant need to be removed to make room for facilities necessary for the plant’s decommissioning.


An official, Junichi Matsumoto, said TEPCO will construct the undersea tunnel by drilling through bedrock in the seabed near its No. 5 reactor, which survived the meltdowns at the plant, to minimise possible underground contamination or leakage of radioactive ground water into the tunnel. Radioactive water has been stored in about 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged three reactors and their cooling water became contaminated and began leaking.

The government decided in April to start discharging the water, after further treatment and dilution, into the Pacific Ocean in spring 2023 under safety standards set by regulators, a move opposed by fishermen and neighbouring countries.

Under the new plan, the water will be released at a depth of about 12 m below the ocean’s surface, said Mr. Matsumoto.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.