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Understanding the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Water Discharge: Key Information to Be Aware Of



TOKYO — Japan plans to release more than 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, a process set to begin this summer and continue for three decades or more.

For years, the contaminated water — equivalent to more than 500 Olympic-size swimming pools — has been stored in large metal tanks near the plant, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. But Japan is running out of space to build more tanks to accommodate the contaminated groundwater and rainwater that continues to enter the site.

The pending release has become highly politicized by neighboring countries, including South Korea and China. Fukushima’s fishing and agricultural industries are also worried about potential reputational harm on their products, which still carry the stigma of radioactive exposure.

The Japanese public is split on the plan, and many remain distrustful of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which has been criticized for playing down bad news about the severity of the disaster in the early days.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, , the international nuclear watchdog, on July 4 released its final report giving a stamp of approval for Japan’s plans. Its director general, Rafael Grossi, is traveling to Fukushima, Seoul and Pacific island nations to announce the findings and address concerns.

Here’s what to know about the upcoming discharge.


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