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Reports: Japan set to release treated Fukushima water into the sea

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered several nuclear meltdowns back in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2017, file photo, ever-growing amount of contaminated, treated but still slightly radioactive, water at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is stored in about 900 huge tanks, including those seen in this photo taken during a plant tour at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. A government panel on Friday roughly accepted the economy and industry ministry's draft proposal that cites the gradual release of massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water stored at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant to sea as a best option. (Pablo M. Diez/Pool Photo via A, File)

TOKYO, Japan — Nearly a decade after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster Japan is set to release more than 1 million tons of treated radioactive water from the tsunami-stricken plant, according to reports.

Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri reports Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. plans to start construction of a pipe to be used to discharge the treated water into the sea once "the contamination level is reduced to a level within national safety standards." 

The reported outcome is not one that comes as a total shock as earlier this year a government panel said release into the sea or evaporating the treated water were "realistic options."

But it appears Japan is running out of room to store the water. 

“The issue of treated water can’t be put off indefinitely as the site [to store the water] is approaching its limits,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said at a press conference the Yomiuri attended.

According to the Asahi, TEPCH has nearly 1.2 million tons of water currently stored in huge tanks at the facility, and even with more being built the company will reach capacity within the next two years.

The water discharge is expected to start around 2022 and is a decision CBS News says is facing strong opposition from environmentalists, local fishermen and farmers.

The network also claims most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed through an extensive filtration process, but that tritium still remains as it cannot be removed with current technology. 

Experts CBS spoke to say tritium is only harmful to humans in "very large doses" and that the International Atomic Energy Agency argues that properly filtered water can be safely released into the ocean if diluted with seawater.

A formal announcement on the matter is anticipated by the end of the month.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered several nuclear meltdowns back in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area. Since then, a majority of the area has become ghost towns.

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