NewsFukushima halts sea water discharge after earthquake, amid dismantling efforts

Fukushima halts sea water discharge after earthquake, amid dismantling efforts

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was destroyed in 2011 by a massive tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was destroyed in 2011 by a massive tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake.
Images source: © PAP | EUGENE HOSHIKO / POOL
7:11 AM EDT, March 16, 2024

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has suspended discharging treated water into the sea as a precautionary measure, due to an earthquake. The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale, struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.

In February, the process of discharging the stored water into the Pacific resumed, after the water had been treated to remove most radioactive substances, except for tritium. Tritium poses a risk only in highly concentrated doses.

According to the original plan, the fourth round of discharges into the sea since last summer was slated to conclude this Sunday. However, following Friday's earthquake off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, “as a precaution, we have halted operations at these facilities in line with our established protocols,” the plant's operator stated.

Shortly after the earthquake, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) reported on its website that no abnormalities were found at the nuclear facilities in Fukushima.

Struck by a massive tsunami in 2011, which was triggered by an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0, the Fukushima Daiichi plant is situated at the Pacific Ocean's edge.

Decades needed to dismantle Japanese plant

The plant is currently undergoing dismantlement, a monumental and complex task that is expected to span several decades, according to AFP.

Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approving the discharge of treated water into the sea, China has sharply criticized the move. In response, Beijing halted all imports of Japanese seafood since last summer, with Russia implementing a similar ban a few months later.

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