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Government’s Decision on Addressing the Contaminated Water Issue at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS
September 3, 2013
In order to tackle the contaminated water issue at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS, the Government of Japan has decided, mobilizing expertise of all the government authority, to play a further proactive role in taking countermeasures against the issue. In this context, on 3rd September, the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters decided “Basic Policy for the Contaminated Water Issues at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.（PDF）” Points of the policy are as follows;
(1) Government Initiatives
- Establishment of inter-ministerial council for contaminated water and decommissioning issue
- Establishment of intergovernmental liaison office near the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS
- Establishment of intergovernmental council for coordination near the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS
- Progress management and risk identification of the contaminated water issue and decommissioning
- Financial Support
- Enhancement of monitoring activities, prevention of reputational damages or misinformation, reinforcement of global communications
(2) Three Principles for the countermeasures against the contaminated water issue
- Principle1: Removing the source of the contamination
- Principle2: Isolating ground water from the contamination source
- Principle3: Preventing leakage of the contaminated water
At present, statistically-significant increase of radioactive concentration in the sea outside the port of the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS has not been detected. However, the Government of Japan will continue to pay the closest attention to the situation, make every effort to work on the contaminated water leakage issue, and provide information to the international community in an appropriate way.
1. Influence of contaminated water
- Influence of contaminated water is limited in the port of Fukushima Daiichi NPS, whose area is smaller than 0.3 km2 .
- The results of monitoring of sea water in Japan are constantly below the standard of 10 Bq/L (“Guidelines for Radioactive Substances in Bathing Areas" released by Ministry of Environment gives an instruction regarding the water quality for municipalities to open bathing areas as follows; the concentration of radioactive Cs (Cs-134 and Cs-137) is lower than or equal to 10 Bq/L.
2. Status of the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS
- The temperature in the reactors ranges from 25 to 50 ºC for the last one month (as of August 29).
- The radioactive material release from the reactor buildings is evaluated at 1.6 * 10 -9 becquerels per cm3 for both Cs-134 and Cs-137.
- The radiation dose due to the radioactive material release is 0.03 mSv per year, equivalent to 1/70 of annual natural radiation dose (Japan’s average is 2.1 mSv per year).
3. Safety of food and water
- Japan adopts the world highest level of standard for food and water, and conducts strict monitoring and distribution management. In practice, even in Fukushima Prefecture where the accident occurred, annual radiation exposure from food and water is lower than one hundredth of 1mSv.
- Food safety is secured by (1) setting of the limits harmonized with the guideline levels of Codex Alimentarius, which is 1 mSv/year, (2) rigorous inspections, and (3) prompt restriction of food distribution.
- The monitoring of radionuclide levels of food in Japan was conducted for 412,959 items from 1st April 2012 to 31st August 2013, and among them only 2,866 items (0.69%) exceeded the limits.
- Products exceeding the limits are disposed. Also, the distribution of products exceeding the limits is prevented through the restriction of shipment in areas where those products are found. Therefore, the safety of foods currently on the market is guaranteed.
- For further information, please refer to the following site of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. http://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/kinkyu/0000020539.html
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