Japan will have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific: environment minister

Tokyo Electric has collected in tanks more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores of the wrecked plant from melting. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2019

Japan will have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific: environment minister

  • A final government decision on disposing of the tainted water awaits a report from an expert panel
  • Any green light to dump the waste into the sea, however, could anger neighbors such as South Korea

TOKYO: Tokyo Electric Power will have to dump radioactive water from its destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister said on Tuesday.
After the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected in tanks at the wrecked sites more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting.
The utility says it will run out of space by 2022.
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada told a news briefing in the capital. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
A final government decision on disposing of the tainted water awaits a report from an expert panel.
Harada did not say how much water would need to be put into the ocean.
Tepco officials were not immediately available for comment.
Any green light to dump the waste into the sea, however, could anger neighbors such as South Korea, which summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last month to explain how the country would deal with the Fukushima water.
Ties between the East Asian nations are already at a low ebb following a compensation dispute over Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories in World War Two.
Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump into the ocean water that contains tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.
Tepco, which also faces opposition from local fishermen, admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.


Bangladesh train collision kills 15, toll could rise

Updated 8 min 34 sec ago

Bangladesh train collision kills 15, toll could rise

  • Most passengers were asleep at the time of the crash
  • Railway accidents in Bangladesh happen relatively frequently, many at unsupervised crossings, and also because of the poor condition of tracks
DHAKA: Rescuers in Bangladesh were battling on Tuesday to pull passengers from mangled wreckage after a head-on collision of two trains killed at least 15 people and injured more than 40, officials said.
A train heading for the southern port city of Chittagong and one bound for Dhaka collided at around 3 a.m. (2100 GMT) in Brahmanbaria, about 100 km east of the capital, crumpling three compartments of the Chittagong-bound train.
“So far, 15 bodies have been recovered,” district official Hayat Ud Dowlah Khan said by telephone from the accident site, warning that the toll could rise during the rescue, mounted by fire, police, border guard and army officials.
“More than 40 injured people have been admitted in hospitals,” Khan said, adding that some were in critical condition.
Most passengers were asleep at the time of the crash.
“Suddenly there was a big bang. I saw people were screaming,” a passenger of the Dhaka-bound train said in television images from the site.
It was not immediately clear how the two trains came to be on the same track, and the government has ordered an investigation.
“One of the trains might have broken the signal, leading to the tragedy,” one police official, Shayamal Kanti Das, told reporters.
Railway accidents in Bangladesh happen relatively frequently, many at unsupervised crossings, and also because of the poor condition of tracks.