Japan will start next week with the second phase of unloading treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator of the plant that was destroyed after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami announced.
On August 24, Japan began dumping part of the 1.34 million tons of wastewater accumulated at the plant into the Pacific, an action that angered China and other countries.
“Inspections after the first discharge have been completed… The secon discharge will start on October 5,” said operator TEPCO.
China has banned imports of Japanese seafood after the first unloading, although Tokyo, which has the approval of the UN regulatory agency, insists the operation is harmless.
In the first spill, which ended on September 11, about 7,800 tons of water were released into the Pacific Ocean out of the planned 1.34 million tons, which is equivalent to the capacity of more than 500 Olympic swimming pools.
TEPCO ensures that the purified water contains no radioactive elements except tritium, which is found at safe levels.
The disposal, which is supposed to last decades, aims to leave space to finally remove the radioactive fuel and debris from the crashed reactors.
“As happened with the first discharge, we will continue to monitor the level of tritium. We will continue to inform the public in a way that is easy to understand and based on scientific evidence,” Akira Ono, head of TEPCO, told the reporter on Thursday.
China has accused Japan of using the ocean as a “dumping ground,” a version recently supported by the Solomon Islands, a small Pacific nation with close ties to Beijing.
Russia, also with cold relations with Tokyo, is considering a veto on imports from Japan.
Despite Beijing’s rejection, Chinese fishermen apparently continue to fish in the same areas as Japanese ships off the coast of the Japanese archipelago.
Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Tokyo, posted images of what he said were Chinese fishing boats off the coast of Japan on September 15.