Japan OKs preparation step for Fukushima plant water release

FILE - This photo shows tanks (in gray, beige and blue) storeing water that was treated but is still radioactive after it was used to cool down spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Feb. 27, 2021. Japan's nuclear regulator on Friday, July 22, 2022, approved the release of treated radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea next year. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's nuclear regulator on Friday approved details of a planned release of treated radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea next year.

The approval by the Nuclear Regulation Authority will enable Tokyo Electric Power Co. to start building necessary facilities ahead of the discharge. It came two months after a preliminary greenlight and a subsequent public review process.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings submitted the plan in December based on a government decision last year to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the plant's ongoing decommissioning.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi plant's cooling systems, causing triple meltdowns and the release of large amounts of radiation. Water that was used to cool the three damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since leaked into basements of the reactor buildings but was collected and stored in tanks.

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