TEPCO To Release Groundwater At Fukushima, Potential Consequences

TEPCO has gained permission from fishing groups to dump contaminated groundwater into the Pacific as long as it is below government release levels. The fishing groups asked for 3rd party testing of the water and for government compensation if this continues to ruin their industry. Within a day TEPCO began pumping groundwater into a set of old bolt together tanks. It has yet to be published who this 3rd party to do testing will be.

The bolt together tanks have been being used to hold highly radioactive water and sludge. There has been no documentation to prove that these tanks TEPCO says they will be using have been cleaned or will not add to the contamination of the bypass water.


Some news reports hinted that the water to be dumped was “uncontaminated” that is not the case. The water has been found to be laced with tritium and cesium on previous reports. The current report does not include testing for cesium. These wells sit downstream from the leaking contaminated water tanks at the plant.

Earlier reports indicated the bypass system could only remove up to 200 tons of the estimated 400 tons of groundwater that leaks into the reactor buildings each day. According to Asahi Shimbun TEPCO wants to pump up and remove 1000 tons of groundwater from the area near the reactors daily if all goes well. Pumping up such a large amount directly next to the reactors and contaminated water tanks could have potentially disastrous consequences. This could cause contaminated water to flow backwards toward the pumping system making it unusable. Such a drastic lowering of the groundwater could also cause subsidence and sinking in the core area of the plant if conducted improperly.

This effort by TEPCO to gain permission to use the bypass wells they installed near the reactors also ignores plans considered more credible by IRID. In the review of the contaminated water proposals submitted to the agency, a bypass system further inland and outside of the plant grounds was considered credible and flagged for action. Somewhere between IRID going forward with a wide area groundwater bypass and TEPCO’s desire to cut corners the safer, more logical solution has gotten the axe.


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