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Japan’s Fukushima wastewater to reach Taiwan waters in 1.5 years

Japan set to release treated wastewater this spring or summer

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FILE - This photo shows tanks (in gray, beige and blue) storing water that was treated but is still radioactive after it was used to cool down spent f...

FILE - This photo shows tanks (in gray, beige and blue) storing water that was treated but is still radioactive after it was used to cool down spent f...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The treated radioactive water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is expected to arrive in Taiwan’s waters in 1.5 years after its planned discharge this spring or summer, said a Taiwanese official.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) has implemented infrastructure for the wastewater release since last August and is likely to begin the work in the summer, said Atomic Energy Council Minister Chang Ching-wen (張靜文) at a legislative briefing on Wednesday (March 1).

A small portion of radionuclides could enter waters around Taiwan after the water’s discharge in one to one and a half years, Chang estimated, depending on the influence of seasonal winds and ocean currents.

The official said the council has ramped up data collection from Japanese authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors the activities and conducts safety assessments, to get a better grasp of the environmental impact of the move, wrote CNA.

Additionally, the council has put in place a laboratory for tritium detection, the first of its kind in Taiwan, which will examine to what extent fish and other marine life around the country’s waters are affected by the health hazard.

Tritium, a potential carcinogen at high levels, is a byproduct of nuclear power generation and has caused concerns over the fact that it cannot be removed with TEPCO's treatment technologies. TEPCO has managed to reduce the levels of more than 60 isotopes in the water to meet standards, per AP.

Up to 1.3 million tons of treated nuclear wastewater will be dumped into the sea as the 1,000 tanks storing the water are reaching their maximum capacity in the aftermath of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011.