TEPCO’s long-term plan to dump contaminated water into the Pacific has progressed closer to reality. Regulators have given initial approvals and with those, TEPCO has moved quickly to start this project.
Edit: Today TEPCO filed for official approval of the water discharge pipe construction.
In mid-December boring tests to examine the geologic status of the sea bed began. These were preceded by magnetic ground surveys. This work is needed to design and construct the discharge pipe TEPCO plans to use to dump contaminated water into the sea. TEPCO plans to have this discharge pipe completed by 2023.
TEPCO has insisted this water is safe and “clean” but admits it still contains some radioactive contamination. The plan has received plenty of criticism including local fishing and environmental groups, international environmental groups, and nearby countries who have all lodged formal complaints with the Japanese government.
Magnetic survey rig near the port of Fukushima Daiichi. (below)
Geologic boring test pontoon rig being towed out of port at Fukushima Daiichi. (below)
Geologic boring test rig pontoon in use outside the port at Fukushima Daiichi. (below)
Location of discharge pipe at Fukushima Daiichi port (below)
Diagram of the construction plan to dig the pipe route. (below)
Location of the pipe route from land out to sea through the port area. (below)
Some concerns about this siting exist. The port has been concreted over twice and had some other work done to attempt to reduce or isolate radioactive contamination that leaked into the port in the early years of the disaster. Digging through this to install the discharge pipe could resuspend these contaminants and fuel microparticles, releasing new environmental contamination to the sea.
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