Anchor: Following years of debate, Japan has decided to release the radioactive water from its Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean. Amid growing concerns over health and environmental effects, Tokyo has assured it would meet international standards and keep safety in mind.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: Japan's Yoshihide Suga administration on Tuesday finalized a plan to release radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Stressing that disposing of the stored water is an "inevitable task" in decommissioning the plant, Prime Minister Suga vowed to ensure the water’s safety at a meeting of relevant ministries.
According to the Tokyo Electric Power Company(TEPCO), as of March 18, one-point-26 million tons of the water was stored at the Fukushima site. The space used to store the water is expected to run out next year.
The water must first go through an extensive filtration process known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System(ALPS) that removes radioactive elements before disposal.
As for tritium, an element that could lead to adverse health effects for humans but can't be removed through the ALPS, Tokyo plans to dilute the levels to one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s(WHO) drinking water standards.
The water release is set to start in two years to allow necessary facilities to be built and safety screenings to be conducted. It is expected the disposal process will last until somewhere between 2041 and 2051.
Tokyo has vowed to reinforce monitoring of the entire process and prevent what it referred to as damage from "groundless rumors" surrounding the water release.
While neighboring countries and hundreds of civic groups have expressed deep concern and strong opposition, the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) supports the decision, saying nuclear plants around the world use a similar process.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.