08:03 GMT +324 October 2019
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    FILE PHOTO: Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019

    Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Watchdog to Restart Probe Into Fukushima Disaster

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    Asia & Pacific
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    Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Agency on Wednesday announced that it intends to launch a new investigation into the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster that unfolded after a massive earthquake rocked the island nation.

    The investigation will seek to determine where radiation is leaking from the plant’s damaged reactors and whether one of the reactors failed to properly vent radioactive steam through its cooling system, among other concerns.

    Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has responded, stating that it’s ready to assist in the watchdog’s investigation, should its backing be required. “If requested in the future, we would like to proactively cooperate in the investigation, such as providing necessary data,” a statement obtained by Reuters reads.

    Several investigations into the March 2011 disaster have been undertaken, revealing that the nuclear disaster was attributed to the meltdown of three of the plant’s reactors after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck offshore of the city of Sendai.

    This latest development comes after Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, said during a Tuesday press conference that TEPCO may have to dump the plant’s radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean - a notion which raises even more concern regarding its effects on marine life and the nation’s fishing business.

    “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Harada said at the Tokyo briefing. 

    “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”

    The official did not indicate how much water would need to be dumped into the ocean.

    Harada’s comments came as reports surfaced detailing that the Japanese government is still unsure of what it should do with the roughly 1 million tons of radioactive water still being stored at the power plant. TEPCO estimates that it will hit maximum capacity by 2022.

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    Tags:
    Investigation, watchdog, 2011 Fukushima disaster, Fukushima nuclear disaster, Fukushima disaster, Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan
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