Despite the limited storage space, a government committee deciding what to do with the water said it would consider holding it at the facility for the foreseeable future due to objections from residents to discharging it into the sea.
The treated water is accumulating in tanks on site. According to the Japan Times, Tepco has projected that storage will reach full capacity by around summer 2022, even after the possible expansion of storage space.
According to Tepco, Fukushima-Daiichi had 960 tanks containing 1.15 million tonnes of treated water as of 18 July.
The treated water contains tritium and other residual radionuclides from the nuclear station, which was shut down by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Reports in Japan said an average 170 tonnes of contaminated water was produced each day during fiscal 2018, mostly as the result of groundwater flowing into the ruined plant.
In January an International Atomic Energy Agency report said management of contaminated water remained critical to the success of decommissioning at the facility.
The agency urged Japan’s government to urgently decide on how to dispose of treated water from the nuclear station.
The water may require further treatment to reduce radionuclides to authorised levels before any of the five disposal methods being considered by the government can be implemented. The methods are ground injection, controlled discharge into the sea, discharge as steam, discharge as hydrogen, and solidification for underground burial.
Releasing treated water into the sea in a controlled manner is common practice at nuclear power plants and was generally considered the most viable option for Fukushima-Daichi because it could be done quickly and would cost the least.
The head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, Toyoshi Fuketa, has long said that releasing the treated water into the sea is the most reasonable option, but people in Fukushima, especially fishermen, fear it will damage the region’s reputation, the Japan Times said.