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Fukushima wastewater discharge suspended after earthquake

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Archive image. — © AP

The operator of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant on Friday suspended the discharge of wastewater into the sea “as a precaution” after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the region.

Source: BELGA

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Tepco had launched a new operation on February 28 to release the water used to cool the plant’s destroyed reactors into the Pacific Ocean. The fourth stage would have ended on Sunday.

After Friday’s earthquake at 12:14 a.m. (Thursday, 4 p.m. Belgian time) off the coast of the Fukushima department, “we were able to confirm remotely that there were no irregularities” in the installations that dilute the tritium-containing water and discharge it into the ocean. , Tepco said on X.

However, “out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended operations at those facilities, as per protocols,” the company added.

The Japanese Nuclear Safety Authority (NRA) also indicated on Friday that it had not detected any irregularities in the nuclear installations.

Tsunami

The Fukushima nuclear power plant was destroyed in 2011 by a massive tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake.

The dismantling of the plant is now underway, but will take decades.

In September 2023, Tepco started pouring the wastewater into the sea. According to the manager, all but tritium has been filtered from the water. Tritium is difficult to separate from water, but according to Tepco and the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is only present in wastewater in harmless amounts. Still, the spills have caused a diplomatic row between Japan and China, which suspended all imports of marine products from Japan in late August.

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In total, approximately 1.34 million tons of waste water is discharged into the sea in stages.

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