Radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be dumped directly into the Pacific Ocean, according to Japan’s environment minister.
The Guardian reported that since the plant was hit by a tsunami in 2011, more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the site, and Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has had a tough time keeping up with the problem.
As groundwater builds up in the area, “it mixes with water used to prevent the three damaged reactor cores from melting.” While some radioactive elements can be removed from the water, there currently exists no technology to remove tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
The radioactive water is currently housed in more than 1,000 tanks on the site, but operators have said they will run out of room to store the water by 2022.
The solution? Send it to the ocean.
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada said on Tuesday. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
The Guardian reported that other potential options for dealing with the contaminated water include “vaporising the liquid or storing it on land for an extended period.”