Japan is to release treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, media reports say.
It follows years of debate over how to dispose the liquid, which includes water used to cool the force station hit by a massive tsunami in 2011.
Natural and fishing groups oppose the idea however numerous scientists say the danger it would present is low.
The government says no final decision has been made.
The release of in excess of 1,000,000 tons of water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, would begin in 2022 at the earliest, as indicated by Japanese news sources including national dailies the Nikkei, and the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The water would be diluted inside the plant before release so it is multiple times less concentrated, the Yomiuri Shimbun stated, with the whole process taking 30 years.
An official choice could emerge by the end of this months, said Kyodo news organization.
There has been growing urgency over how to manage the water as space to store the liquid – which includes groundwater and rain that seeps every day into the plant – is running out.
Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed using a complex filtration process. But one isotope, tritium, cannot be removed so the water has been stored in huge tanks which will fill up by 2022.
On Friday Japan’s industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said no choice had at this point been made on the disposal of the water however the government planned to make one soon.
“To prevent any delays in the decommissioning process, we need to make a choice quickly,” he told a news conference.
Environmental groups have long expressed their opposition to releasing the water into the ocean. And fishing groups have argued against it, saying consumers will refuse to buy products from the region.
Anyway a few scientists say the water would quickly be diluted in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and that tritium poses a low risk to human and animal health.
What Happened In 2011?
On 11 March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the north-eastern coast of Japan, triggering a 15-meter tsunami.
While the back-up systems to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant survived the und initial erlying quake, further harm was inflicted by the tsunami.
As the facility’s cooling systems failed in the days that followed, tons of radioactive material was released. The meltdown was the worst terrible nuclear mishap since Chernobyl in 1986.
Around 18,500 people died on or disappeared in the quake and tsunami, and more than 160,000 were forced from their homes.
Billions of dollars in compensation have already been paid to individuals and businesses affected by the disaster. Last month, a Japanese high court upheld a ruling ordering the government and the plant’s operating company to pay a further $9.5m (£7.3m).
This news is originally posted on BBC