While the Olympics remains stuck in will-they-won’t-they territory, the big Fukushima No. 1 drain-off looks set to go ahead, starting in 2023 and lasting somewhere around 30 years.
Local industries and municipalities have been briefed and the International Atomic Energy Agency has been invited to oversee proceedings, as utility Tepco prepares to discharge 1.2 million tons of treated water stored at the tsunami-hit plant into the sea.
The government has set itself a deadline of within the year to compile an action plan for the discharge, with the question of where the water will be released from — directly off the coast or through an offshore pipe — still unanswered.
Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura has suggested he would consider releasing the tritium-laced water into Osaka Bay if asked, although his constituents may have something to say about that.
In a recent Media Mix, Philip Brasor took a look at how Japan’s papers are covering the discharge. Some are in favor, others against, but one thing they agree on is that the government and Tepco need to do more to help the public understand the plan.
Neighboring countries also need to be engaged. Allowing the release to proceed without international consultation would set a dangerous precedent, argue Safecast’s Azby Brown and Iain Darby, weakening the international rules-based system.