Japan Fishermen Reject Release of Fukushima Water to Ocean

Tepco Irradiated Water Find May Signal Problem for Bypass Plan

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) found irradiated water near a storage tank that leaked last month at the Fukushima plant, complicating its plan for a pipeline to cut the volume of radioactive water it’s forced to manage. Inspectors found 650 becquerels per liter of beta radiation, which includes the contaminant strontium-90, Mayumi Yoshida, a spokeswoman for the utility known as Tepco, said today by phone. That’s more than 21 times government safety guidelines covering sea water near the plant for strontium-90, which has been linked to bone cancer.The samples were taken Sept. 4 from a newly dug monitoring well near the storage tank area where Tepco on Aug. 20 reported a leak of about 300 metric tons of water that had been used to cool reactor fuel. That area is important to Tepco’s bypass plan and had been thought free of contaminants.

Tepco is seeking permission from area fishermen to pump groundwater flowing toward the plant around its reactors and into the ocean. The objective is to cut the amount of water flooding reactor building basements. Since the groundwater would pass through the plant’s tank areas before entering the bypass system’s intake wells, the tainted water found this week could pose a contamination risk.

“It might be a problem,” Yoshida said. “We are investigating further.”

Tepco said it had explained to fisheries associations that the water in the bypass system wouldn’t touch contaminated areas and therefore can be safely pumped into the sea. Tepco has held at least four meetings with the various cooperatives.

Bypass Plan

The new contamination discovery could make it more difficult for Tepco to convince fishermen’s groups to sign off on the bypass. The utility’s disclosure in July that irradiated water is leaking into the Pacific has set back efforts by Fukushima fishermen to convince consumers their product is safe. Japanese government estimates put the leak at about 300 tons a day.

South Korea expanded an import ban on Japanese fisheries products today to include all items from Fukushima and seven other nearby prefectures, regardless of whether they showed contamination, according to an e-mailed statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The measure comes as our people’s concerns are growing over the fact that hundreds of tons of radiation-contaminated water are leaked daily from the site of Japan’s nuclear accident in Fukushima,” Yonhap reported earlier today, citing the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The Fukushima site now has more than 338,000 metric tons of water stored in more than 1,000 tanks, with additional water remaining untreated in reactor basements and service tunnels.

Levels of toxic water are rising at a rate of 400 tons a day as groundwater seeping into basements mixes with cooling water that has been in contact with highly radioactive melted reactor cores. The bypass system would reduce the amount of contaminated water being stored by 100 tons a day, Tepco has said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jacob Adelman in Tokyo at jadelman1@bloomberg.net; Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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