Fukushima Nuclear Plant Releasing Radioactive Water To Sea

Recently, Amid considerable controversy, Japan has initiated the release of a substantial volume of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. This controversial move has sparked strong opposition from neighboring nations. In order to help you understand the background and impact of this incident, we will discuss:

  • Where iIs Fukushima Nuclear Plant
  • Incidents and Accidents
  • Why Does Fukushima Release Nuclear Wastewater
  • How Much Radioactive Water Is Leaking From Fukushima
  • The Fukushima Radioactive Water Map

Where Is Fukushima Nuclear Plant

The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant consists of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, with a total of 10 units (6 units at the 1st station and 4 units at the 2nd station), all of which are boiling water reactors. Located at 37 degrees 25 minutes 14 seconds north latitude and 141 degrees 2 minutes east longitude, it is located in the Fukushima Industrial Zone, Japan. The nuclear wastewater discharged on Aug 2023 belongs to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Releasing Radioactive Water To Sea

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

  • Location: Okuma Town, Futaba-gun , Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
  • Latitude and longitude: 141 degrees 01 minutes and 57 seconds east longitude, 37 degrees 25 minutes and 17 seconds north latitude.

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant

  • Location: Naraha Town and Tomioka Town , Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
  • Latitude and longitude: 141 degrees 01 minutes 16 seconds east longitude, 37 degrees 19 minutes 10 seconds north latitude.

Incidents and Accidents

Aug 2005

An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale caused part of the ponds storing nuclear waste at two nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture to overflow.

Jun 2008

Small amount of 5 gallons of radioactive cooling water leaked from the nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

Mar 2011

An earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale caused the failure of two nuclear power plant reactors in Fukushima Prefecture.

Aug 2013

apanese government's Nuclear Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters announced that at least 300 tons of sewage from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant flowed into the sea every day.

Oct 2013

A major accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. During the operation of the contaminated water treatment facility, the operator mistakenly pulled out the distribution line, resulting in a large amount of high-concentration contaminated water leaking out . Six of the people were sprayed with contaminated water.

May 2015

Tepco believed that the water body was likely to be affected by strong radiation and cause a large amount of hydrogen gas to be produced. The gas continues to expand inside the container, eventually leading to the overflow of nuclear sewage

Feb 2017

The radiation level at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan exploded.

Feb 2021

7.3-magnitude earthquake occurred offshore Fukushima on February 13, 2021. On March, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission issued a report stating that a new pollution site was discovered inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company, and the severity was far greater than expected.

Apr 2021

The Japanese government decided to filter and dilute millions of tons of nuclear sewage from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and then discharge it into the sea.

Apr 2023

Tokyo Electric Power Company announced that the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea will be at 13: 00 local time on August 24.

Aug 2023

Japan start to release treated Fukushima water into the ocean.

Why Does Fukushima Release Nuclear Wastewater

On March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, leading to a consequential tsunami. This catastrophic event heavily impacted the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Reactors 1 through 4 experienced critical issues, with units 5 and 6 also facing challenges. The aftermath of the disaster caused a direct contamination of over 60,000 square kilometers of surrounding land, forcing more than 100,000 individuals from their homes.

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During that period, urgent measures were undertaken by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, responsible for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. They injected significant amounts of cooling water into the reactors to prevent core meltdown and manage temperature levels. However, this process generated increasing quantities of nuclear wastewater laden with radioactive materials. Over the past decade, the Tokyo Electric Power Company has grappled with the management of this nuclear wastewater issue. Numerous tank-like storage facilities were constructed on-site to hold the wastewater, yet each container can only accommodate 1000-1300 tons.

As of March this year, data from the Tokyo Electric Power Company indicates that 1.25 million tons of treated water, inclusive of water undergoing treatment, were contained within 1,061 storage tanks. By the summer of 2022, available space for constructing new storage tanks at the nuclear plant had been exhausted. Furthermore, the passage of ten years since the Fukushima nuclear incident has led to a degree of corrosion in these storage tanks, raising concerns of potential leaks. Hence, finding a solution to manage this mounting nuclear wastewater has become an imperative priority.

How Much Radioactive Water Is Leaking From Fukushima

On the 22nd, Tokyo Electric Power Company announced the detailed steps for discharging into the ocean. According to the plan, a large amount of seawater will be added to the treated water before discharge. If it is confirmed that the concentration has dropped to the expected level, the first batch of 7,800 tons of nuclear-contaminated water will be discharged within 17 days. In 2023, it is estimated that about 31,200 tons of tritium will be discharged, and the total amount of tritium will be 5 megabecquerels, which is about 20% of TEPCO's annual planned emission limit (22 megabecquerels).

The Fukushima Radioactive Water Map

After nuclear contaminated water enters the marine environment, it is first transported by ocean currents and will spread to different oceans. In addition, it will be continuously transmitted through the marine ecosystem, such as the food chain, and may also enter the human body through the public's ingestion of seafood, thus bringing certain potential impacts to the marine ecosystem or human health.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Releasing Radioactive Water To Sea

Macroscopic simulation results show that nuclear wastewater will reach the coastal waters of China 240 days after discharge, and will reach the coast of North America 1,200 days later and cover almost the entire North Pacific. Subsequently, the pollutants spread rapidly along the coast of America to the South Pacific on one side under the influence of equatorial ocean currents, and on the other side transferred to the Indian Ocean through the waters of northern.

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