About 700 tons of contaminated water are generated on a daily basis at Fukushima Daiichi, and America Tonight visited TEPCO to find out what it plans to do. Masayuki Ono, a TEPCO spokesman, said that one of the aims is to reduce the source of the contaminated water. To do so, TEPCO plans to build a massive $470 million ice wall around the plant and install a new system to deal with the contaminated water.
There’s still uncertainty, though, about whether some of this tainted water will end up in the Pacific.
“Our policy is to physically decontaminate the water to a sufficiently safe and harmless level in order to reduce the risk it poses,” Ono said.
At that point, TEPCO will inevitably dump the water into the ocean, according to McNeill. “Once they get the water decontaminated to a level where people will accept it can be dumped into the ocean, they will do it,” he said. “They have to do it, because there’s no way that they cannot do it.”
The question is whether the water will truly be decontaminated to a safe level. If TEPCO’s latest strategy fails, it’s possible that the more dangerous forms of radiation won’t get filtered out.
“If TEPCO releases of all of the contaminated water without removing the strontium-90, it’s a big problem for the whole Pacific, especially the whole western part,” Aoyama said. “It’s true.”
And even if all goes well, Fukushima Daiichi itself will remain on the edge of disaster — an undefused bomb for decades to come.