April 15, 2022
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting on April 15 to review TEPCO’s application for an implementation plan to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean after purification and treatment, and accepted TEPCO’s explanation. The discussion at the review meeting is over, and the NRA will prepare a draft review document summarizing the details of the review by the end of May, and begin the procedures for approval.
One Year After the Decision to Discharge Treated Water into the Sea, the Gulf Between the Government and Fishermen Remains Unbridgeable, and the Sense of Distrust in TEPCO Has Not Changed
 In December of last year, TEPCO applied to the Regulatory Commission for a review of its implementation plan, which outlines the design of the facilities, the method of discharge, and the impact on the environment and people after the discharge. So far, 15 review meetings have been held, and discussions have ended without any major changes to the plan.
 After compiling a draft of the review report, the Regulatory Commission will solicit opinions (public comments) from the public for 30 days before deciding whether to approve the plan. Normally, the review of an implementation plan is closed to the public and no public comments are solicited, but the committee took an unusual step.
 The approval of Fukushima Prefecture, Okuma Town, and Futaba Town, the three municipalities where the plant is located, is required before TEPCO can begin construction of a new undersea tunnel and other facilities to be built in conjunction with the offshore discharge. TEPCO had indicated that it planned to start construction in June, but there is now a possibility of a delay.
 According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which mainly contains radioactive tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to reduce the tritium concentration to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard, and then discharged through an undersea tunnel to an area about 1 km offshore. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023. (Kenta Onozawa)