Japan's environment minister said radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant — crippled in a 2011 tsunami and earthquake — will have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean as room to store it is running out, Reuters reported.
"The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it," Yoshiaki Harada said during a Tokyo news briefing Tuesday, the outlet noted. "The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion."
Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected over a million tons of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the disaster over eight years ago, Reuters said, and the utility said it will run out of room to store the water by 2022.
Harada did not say how much water would need to be dumped into the ocean, the outlet noted.
Another official pushes back
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga characterized Harada's comments as "his personal opinion," Reuters said, adding that the government is waiting for an expert panel's report before making a final decision on getting rid of the radioactive water.
Dumping the water into the Pacific would anger neighbors such as South Korea, which summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last month to explain how the Fukushima water would be dealt with, the outlet said.
South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement it had asked Japan "to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue," Reuters reported.
Here's a video report from last year on the contaminated water situation:
Japan readying to release highly radioactive water from Fukushima plant youtu.be