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October 16, 2020, 06.13 PM

TOKYO, KOMPAS.com – Japan will release more than 1 million tons of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, according to media reports in the East Asian nation.

The expected release of Fukushima’s treated radioactive water comes after a decades-long operation that has been with strong opposition from local fishermen.

The Fukushima water has been filtered to reduce radioactivity and its release into the sea is expected to start in 2022 at the earliest, according to national dailies the Nikkei, the Yomiuri, and other local media.

Read also: Shinzo Abe’s Successor Faces a Slew of Challenges in Leading Japan

The decision ends years of debate over how to dispose of the liquid that includes water used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi power station after it was hit by a massive tsunami in 2011.

A Japanese government panel said earlier this year that releasing Fukushima's treated water into the sea or evaporating it were both "realistic options".

"We can't postpone a decision on the plan to deal with the... processed water, to prevent delays in the decommission work of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Friday, without commenting directly on the plan or its timing.

There are around 1.23 million tons of wastewater stored in tanks at the facility, according to plant operator TEPCO, which also declined to comment on the reports.

Environmental activists have expressed strong opposition to the proposals, and fishermen and farmers have voiced fear that consumers will shun seafood and produce from the region.

Read also: China Detects Traces of Coronavirus in Ecuadorian Shrimp Packaging

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