Toxic cooling water piling up in Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant

The obsolete Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, hit by three nuclear meltdowns

Water contaminated with tritium has been building up in hundreds of tanks on the premises of Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant in Japan, and according to KYODO and the Japan Times, the water has also been found to contain other radioactive substances as well. The power plant was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and suffered nuclear meltdowns as the cooling systems reactors one to three were destroyed.

Presently, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company are under immense pressure to dump the water.

Tritium, a byproduct of nuclear operations, is alleged to pose a low risk to human health when diluted, also bringing down the levels of other radioactive substances presences in the water, and thus creating an option to dispose of the water in the sea.

Residents and fishermen, however, fear the effect the radioactive materials might have on the sea.

According to the Japan Times, 62.2 becquerels per litre of Iodine 129 – which has a haf-life of 15.7 million years – have been found in the water the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) has filtered, much higher than the legal limit of 9 becquerels. This is particularly worrying, as ALPS is supposed to be capable of removing everything except tritium.

92.5 becquerels of ruthenium 106 against the legal limit of 100 becquerels were also found, along with 59 becquerels of technetium 99, far below the legal limit of 1,000 becquerels.

Water is consistently injected into the defunct nuclear power plant to keep the fuel cold and prevent overheating, with the ALPS system then filtering the water, though eliminating the tritium in the water remains hard.