The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered from an earthquake and tsunami on the same day in 2011. As a result, the plant released a tremendous amount of radiation into the Pacific Ocean. To prevent further damage, water was used to help cool the reactor cores.
However, they are running out of room for the water.
With limited options available, it is very likely that the water will be returned to the ocean. Greenpeace has warned that the water contains the radioactive isotope Carbon-14, which is capable of altering human DNA.
How Much Water Is at Fukushima?
You might be wondering how much water could possibly be stored at the nuclear power plant and the answer might surprise you.
The plant currently holds 1.23 million metric tons of water.
To put this into perspective, it is the amount of water necessary to fill 492 Olympic sized swimming pools. However, you wouldn’t want to swim in this water.
According to an interview with CNN, TEPCO stated that there are 2 to 220 becquerels per liter of Carbon-14. However, they went on to urge that while Carbon-14 is dangerous, it is not in a strong enough concentration to harm humans.
Are There Other Options?
The options of what to do with this amount of contaminated water are extremely limited.
The first and maybe most obvious option is to transport the water to another location for storage. This would take a tremendous amount of resources and storage capacity, after all, it’s a lot of water.
Another option is to turn the contaminated water into cement, but as we all know, the cement industry is a huge carbon emitter and that would have its own repercussions.
Dumping the water into the ocean is the easiest method available to the company, but it is also reckless. The committee must vote on the matter to ensure that the decommissioning of the plant goes on as scheduled.