Tepco struggling to win approval of fishermen over water-discharge plan — The Asahi Shimbun; The Japan Times

” Local fishermen are crying foul over Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s latest plan to discharge processed contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean.

TEPCO and the central government held the first explanatory briefing over the plan on Sept. 18, seeking to win the approval of fishermen operating in southern Fukushima Prefecture.

Their explanation was apparently unconvincing.

“I can’t believe anything TEPCO says,” one of the attendees said after the meeting.

The plan is designed to limit the amount of radioactive water accumulating at the nuclear complex, which was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Under the plan, tainted water stored in 42 wells outside the reactor buildings would be pumped into the nearby sea after undergoing a purification process.

The plant operator believes the new drainage efforts would drastically reduce the amount of contaminated water in the buildings. About 400 tons of contaminated water a day is produced from groundwater flowing into the No. 1 through 4 reactor buildings.

In March, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture gave TEPCO the green light to release groundwater into the ocean before it reaches the crippled reactors and becomes contaminated.

However, many members of local fisheries associations opposed the plan on the opening day of the briefing sessions, held in Iwaki in the prefecture.

Among the 90 in attendance, Yoshinori Sato, a 55-year-old fisherman of sea urchin and abalone, expressed concern over the plan’s safety.

“If a critical problem should occur, (local fisheries) would be severely damaged,” he said. “They wouldn’t be able to recover.”

Another member criticized the utility for burdening local fishermen with such proposals, asking, “How many times will we have to make a similar painful decision?”

Near the end of the meeting, TEPCO, the central government and fishery association members agreed to pursue the issue on another occasion. ”


Read a related article by The Japan Times about Tepco’s strategies to try to control the inundation of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 site.