The Washington Post

Japanese utility dumps radioactive water into Pacific to ease storage woes

Tokyo Electric Power Co. began dumping water tainted with low levels of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean on Monday night so that a central waste facility could be used to store more dangerously radioactive water, officials said.

The company, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that was crippled in the March 11 earthquake-tsunami disaster, said it could release up to 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the sea. The water had collected in the waste facility and a drainage pit, officials said.

“We are causing trouble and inconvenience to the local people, but to have to force on them further hardship we are extremely sorry,” said a Tepco official who spoke to reporters in Fukushima, trying to hold back tears.

A spokeswoman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the less-contaminated water must be disposed of so that workers can secure a place to store more highly contaminated water on the site. Otherwise, there is a possibility of danger to emergency crews.

On Sunday, Japanese government officials said the Daiichi plant may continue to release dangerous radiation into the air for several months.

Tepco’s reputation has suffered in the wake of the nuclear crisis. On Tuesday, its stock fell by the maximum daily limit; shares fell by 80 yen or 18 percent, according to the Associated Press. In total, Tepco’s share price is down 80 percent since the earthquake hit.

Show Comments
Washington Post Subscriptions

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

A limited time offer for Apple Pay users.

Buy with
Cancel anytime

$9.99/month after the two month trial period. Sales tax may apply.
By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service, Digital Products Terms of Sale & Privacy Policy.

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing
Read content from allstate
Content from Allstate This content is paid for by an advertiser and published by WP BrandStudio. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more about WP BrandStudio.
We went to the source. Here’s what matters to millennials.
A state-by-state look at where Generation Y stands on the big issues.