TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is up a stream of nuclear waste without a paddle

Andrew Ball, Chief Editor

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In 2011 an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and eight years later, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is still burdened with the task of cleaning the nuclear waste left behind. What at first seemed to be going well, the utility soon realized that they were quickly running out of room for the contaminated water.

A spokesman for Fukushima said that they will likely run out of room for the waste in 2022. To deal with this issue, Japan’s minster, Yoshiaki Harada, has brought forth the idea of draining the water into the sea in order to dilute. The minster believes that this is “the only option,” although Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, regarded Harada’s comments as his “personal opinion” (New York Post). The government is also awaiting a report from an expert panel on the best way to dispose of the contaminated water. 

Any news of action passing to dump the water into the sea, would spark outrage in the region. Especially with neighboring countries such as South Korea, who already summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last month concerning the Fukushima water. Local fishermen have also expressed their discomfort with the dumping of waste into the ocean. Due to the harm that the contaminants can do to humans and sea life, it makes it difficult to make a living. 

Despite there being no final decision on how to deal with the Fukushima water crisis just yet, the future is not looking good. With less and less space for the waste becoming available every day, the world can only hope Japan discovers a miracle solution. 

Fukushima cleanup sight, photo courtesy of The Mainichi