First phase of Fukushima water release to end Sept 11

The first phase of releasing treated wastewater from Fukushima that has angered China will end on Sept. 11 as planned, the stricken Japanese nuclear plant's operator said.

TEPCO added that levels of radioactive tritium in tested seawater samples near the plant in north-east Japan were within safe limits, according to a statement late on Sept. 7.

Japan began on Aug. 24 discharging into the Pacific some of the 1.34 million tons of wastewater that has collected since a tsunami crippled the facility in 2011.

Japan insists that the discharge is safe, a view backed by the U.N. atomic agency, but China banned all seafood imports from its neighbor, accusing it of treating the sea like a "sewer."

Announcing the end of the first phase of releasing 7,800 tons of the water on Sept. 11, TEPCO gave no date for the start of the second discharge.

"After completion of the first discharge, we will conduct an inspection of [the] entire water dilution/discharge facility and review the operational records from the first discharge," it said.

The water, equivalent to 540 Olympic pools' worth, has been used to cool the three reactors that went into meltdown in 2011, in one of the world's worst nuclear catastrophes.

Japan says that all radioactive elements have been filtered out except tritium, levels of which are well within safe limits and below that released by nuclear plants in their normal operations around the world.

The release, which is expected to take decades to complete, is aimed at making space to begin removing the highly dangerous radioactive fuel and rubble from the wrecked reactors.

Last week Prime Minister Fumio Kishida publicly ate fish from Fukushima in an effort to reassure consumers, as did the U.S....

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