Japan began a controversial discharge of treated tritium-laced water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Aug. 24, a major step in the decommissioning process for the reactors hit by a triple meltdown following the March 2011 tsunami.
The solution, hailed as safe by the government, follows a struggle for over a decade to deal with an enormous amount of radioactive water building up in tanks on the premises of the crippled plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, the plant’s operator, started releasing the water at 1:03 p.m. after weather and sea conditions were judged favorable.
Despite assurances from Tepco and the Japanese government, the move immediately drew backlash from neighboring countries.
Following the announcement of the release, China said it would suspend all imports of seafood from Japan, a step that will likely have a considerable impact on an industry already suffering from years of severe reputational damage.
Speaking after the release, Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said the company will offer compensation to companies hit by the restrictions, while continuing efforts to explain the safety of the operations. The government has also set up a fund of \30 billion to cover additional reputational damage.(The Japan Times)