On July 4, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authorized the Japanese authorities to discharge 1.33 million tonnes of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
These liters are treated wastewater from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. Most of it is rainwater, groundwater or water used to cool nuclear reactors.
Since the disaster on March 11, 2011, the company Tepco has been pumping water. This means than every day, liters of contaminated water are used to cool the generators and then stored in massive tanks.
To avoid the risk of contamination, the water is treated using the ALPS. The Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is a multi-nuclide removal system that removes various radioactive materials from contaminated water. Most radioactive substances are extracted, with the exception of tritium and carbon-14. These are radioactive forms of hydrogen and carbon, which are difficult to separate from water.
This situation is worrying Japan’s neighbors China, Taiwan and South Korea. People and governments are concerned about the rising cost of salt and seafood. They are particularly concerned about the safety of Japanese food exports.