More than a million tons of radioactive water from the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima will have to be pumped into the Pacific Ocean, a Japanese minister said yesterday, a move that will provoke anger and anxiety in Japan and among its east Asian neighbours. “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” said Yoshiaki Harada, the environment minister, in one of the clearest statements on the subject so far by a senior politician. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.” Although the government has not made a formal announcement, it has become increasingly clear that dumping the water in the ocean is the long-term solution favoured by the government, led by Shinzo Abe, the prime minister.
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Japan’s nuclear regulator plans to reinvestigate the Fukushima disaster, in which three reactors at an atomic power plant run by Tokyo Electric Power melted down after an earthquake and tsunami eight years ago, it said on Wednesday. The March 2011 disaster led to explosions and the meltdown of the three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station north of the capital, Tokyo, spewing radiation that forced 160,000 people to flee, many never to return. In its investigation, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) will seek to establish where radiation is leaking from damaged reactor containment vessels, a paper it released showed.
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