Japan Says Fixing Fukushima’s Toxic Water Issues to Take Years

Ending radioactive water leaks along with groundwater and ocean contamination at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan may take more than five years, according to a report by a government advisory body.

The effort includes building stronger storage tanks at the site to prevent leaks of radioactive water, covering areas with impermeable coating to stop groundwater contamination and building underground walls to block subsurface inflow.

Completing the measures will take till March 2019, the report estimates. It’s based on 779 proposals submitted by domestic and overseas companies to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning. The plan doesn’t include any technology to remove tritium isotopes from water.

The plan “excludes measures for tritium contamination because there is no proven technology to remove it,” Yuzo Ohnishi, chairman of the panel and an executive vice-president of Kyoto University, told reporters. He delivered the report to Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi today.

Japan’s government has said it will play a more prominent leadership role in tacking the disaster amid criticism of the response by the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station suffered reactor meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The plant is on the Pacific coast 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

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