The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday began pumping up groundwater from wells around the reactor buildings as part of its plan to dump it into the ocean after treatment.
The plan is aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Tokyo Electric Power Co. says radiation levels in the groundwater are much lower than in the highly toxic water being pooled inside the reactor buildings, adding it will discharge it only after confirming it does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowable limit.
Even so, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture had long opposed the plan amid concerns over pollution of the ocean and marine products. They approved it last week on condition that the government and TEPCO continue paying compensation to them for as long as the nuclear crisis continues to cause damage to their business, among other requirements.