Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant’s Tainted Water. Fishermen Fear the Worst.

Photo: Tatsuo Niitsuma and his wife, Yoko, in Iwaki, Japan, this month. Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

The water from the Fukushima disaster is more radioactive than the authorities have previously publicized, raising doubts about government assurances that it will be made safe.

IWAKI, Japan — The overpowering earthquake and tsunami that ripped through northern Japan in March 2011 took so much from Tatsuo Niitsuma, a commercial fisherman in this coastal city in Fukushima Prefecture.

The tsunami pulverized his fishing boat. It demolished his home. Most devastating of all, it took the life of his daughter.

Now, nearly nine years after the disaster, Mr. Niitsuma, 77, is at risk of losing even more — his entire livelihood — as the government considers releasing tainted water from a nuclear power plant destroyed by the tsunami’s waves.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet and the Tokyo Electric Power Company — the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a triple meltdown led to the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl — must decide what to do with more than one million tons of contaminated water stored in about 1,000 giant tanks on the plant site.

On Monday, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry proposed gradually releasing the water into the ocean or allowing it to evaporate, saying a controlled discharge into the sea would “stably dilute and disperse” it. The ministry ruled out alternatives to releasing the water […]

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Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant’s Tainted Water. Fishermen Fear the Worst.
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Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant’s Tainted Water. Fishermen Fear the Worst.
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Water from the Fukushima disaster is more radioactive than authorities previously publicized, raising doubts about assurances that it will be made safe.
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The New York Times
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