The operator of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has submitted plans to the country’s nuclear regulators to release contaminated water from the site into the sea.
According to Reuters, Tepco proposes to discharge the water via pumps and and underwater tunnels to a location about 1km offshore.
Tepco will process the water first to remove radioactive contamination, except for tritium, which cannot be removed.
Nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water have accumulated at the site – enough to fill 500 Olympic swimming pools.
The water has built up over the past ten years, after the site was ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami – causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Currently, the water is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of around $880m, and space is running out.
Although international authorities support the water discharge effort, the plans do have raised concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried both local farmers and the fishing industry.
The operator will continue to discuss the issue with residents and others before construction, set to start in the middle of next year.