Tokyo, Japan’s nuclear regulator today approved plans by the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant to release its treated radioactive wastewater into the sea next year, saying the outlined methods are safe and risks to the environment minimal.

The plan was submitted by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings in December based on the government’s decision last year to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the ongoing plant cleanup and decommission.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing the meltdown of three reactors and the release of large amounts of radiation. Water that has been used to cool the three damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since leaked but was collected and stored in tanks.

Japan has sought the IAEA’s assistance to ensure the water release meets international safety standards, and to reassure local fishing and other communities as well as neighboring countries that have sharply criticized the plan.

A team of experts from the IAEA visited the plant in February and March for meetings with Japanese government and TEPCO officials. The task force, in a report issued late April, said Japan is making “significant progress” on the plan and taking appropriate steps toward the planned discharge.

Source: Oman News & Info Agency