Contaminated water, ALPS committee report emphasizes benefits of discharge into Pacific Ocean

As the volume of contaminated water treated by the so-called Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) and stored at the TEPCO Daiichi nuclear plant continues to grow, a subcommittee was established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to discuss how to deal with this water.

The subcommittee issued its report on February 10, 2020, stating that release into the ocean and evaporation into the atmosphere are two “viable options,” emphasizing that ocean release was more reliable in terms of monitoring radioactive substances. The government says that it will seek comments from local stakeholders before determining its policy to deal with the water.

The subcommittee issued that report without having given any serious consideration to a number of proposals from the Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy, which has several technical experts as members. Those proposals included long-term storage in large tanks on land (which the commission said is safer and can store more volume per unit of area) and solidification with mortar.