The government of Japan said on Friday that nuclear authorities have authorized a proposal to dump water from the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant into the sea.
The water, which was used to cool reactors following the 2011 nuclear tragedy, was kept in massive tanks inside the site and amounted to more than 1.3 million tonnes by July.
The officials found it safe to discharge the water, which would still contain levels of tritium after treatment, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
Tokyo Power Electric Company (9501.T), the plant’s operator, would face extra inspections by authorities, it said.
Apart from tritium, which is difficult to remove, Tepco intends to filter the polluted water to eliminate dangerous isotopes. It will then be diluted and discharged, freeing up plant space and allowing decommissioning to proceed.
The initiative has been met with significant opposition from the region’s fishing unions, who are concerned about the effect on their livelihoods. China, South Korea, and Taiwan have all expressed alarm.