Japan will release large amounts of filtered water into the sea from Fukushima

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The operation is scheduled to start no earlier than 2022. The decision by the government means that a ten-year debate will be put on hold on what will happen to the large volumes of contaminated cooling water that are still at the plant.

The nuclear power plant collapsed during a massive tsunami in 2011, triggered by a powerful underwater earthquake far out to sea.

Environmental activists are strongly opposed to discharges into the sea, and local fishermen fear that consumers will for a long time to come skim seafood from the region in question.

A government-appointed committee said last month that it is possible to release water into the sea or allow it to evaporate.

The solution of releasing water into the sea has been hotly debated for the past three years, not least because the capacity to hold water is about to be blown up. In addition to the large amounts that were pumped in as a wake, over the years, large amounts of rainwater have accumulated in the plant.

Authorities say most of the radioactive material has been removed from the water through a lengthy filtration process, leaving only tritium.

Experts say that this is dangerous for humans only in very large concentrations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes that properly filtered water can be diluted with seawater and then safely discharged.

The current discharge plan is to dilute the cooling water to a 40 times as low concentration inside the tanks, before the water is discharged over a ten-year period. The wake is stored today in a thousand enormous tanks.

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