The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Monday that plans to dump 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the sea in its desperate effort to secure enough storage space for more highly contaminated water at the complex.
Contaminated water to be released from the plant into the sea is about 100 times more radioactive than the legal limit, which is a “relatively low level, ” Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said at a press conference, adding that the operation will start as early as Monday.
Separately, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that there is no choice but to release radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean as a safety measure.
TEPCO is struggling to find storage space to store highly radioactive water soaking from several parts of the Fukushima plant, 230 km north of Tokyo.
Contaminated water has been hindering its attempts to restore the reactors’ cooling functions, which are crucial to overcome the world’s worst radiation crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan knocked out the cooling systems, leading to suspected partial meltdowns in three of its six reactors and continued radiation leaks.