A few days ago, with over a three year delay, Japan finally admitted what was clear to most from day one: the consequences of the Fukushima disaster have been far, far worse than officials had reported, and not only is the containment effort out of control, but that more nuclear fuel had melted at the Fukushima nuclear reactor than previously reported, suggesting that neither TEPCO nor the government have had any success in mitigating what is now the worst - and ongoing - nuclear disaster in history.
So now, perhaps to celebrate its truth-telling ways, TEPCO has announced that it is planning to release thousands of tons of radioactive groundwater from the Fukushima disaster site into the ocean. Actually scratch that: officially the water dumped into the Pacific will be "decontaminated", because TEPCO has that rare habit of "telling the truth." It will also do so only after getting permission from local fishermen, who apparently have a choice: whether to catch five-eyed tuna after giving TEPCO "yes" for an answer, or merely catching five-eyed tuna, period.
As NHK confirms, TEPCO "is seeking approval from fishermen to discharge decontaminated ground water into the ocean."
The spin: dumping "decontaminated" water into the ocean is an improvement because Fukushima is already leaking some 200 tons of contaminated ground water per day into the ocean. So why not slap a "treated" sticker on the water and just dump it all. It's not as if the idiotic plan lifted straight from Game of Thrones, which Japan came up with last year to encase Fukushima in a frozen sarcophagus had any chance of working. So now it is straight to what anyone with a functioning frontal lobe said would happen anyway: thousands if not millions of tons of radioactive water will enter the Pacific anyway. Only this time TEPCO is at least pretending to care about the truth and/or the environment.
More from NHK:
Highly radioactive water at the plant is seeping into the earth and mixing with ground water. Experts estimate around 200 tons of contaminated ground water are leaking into the ocean each day.
Engineers with Tokyo Electric Power Company are building an iron barrier along a coastal embankment in a bid to contain the problem.
TEPCO officials say they plan to pump the water and remove radioactive substances using a decontamination system they are building. They say the barrier and the decontamination system will be in place in September. But they have limited capacity in storage tanks at the plant, and want to discharge the decontaminated water into the ocean.
In other words, to avoid dumping radioactive water into the Pacific, Japan has to... dump radioactive water into the Pacific. Brilliant.
The officials say they explained the plan to the Fukushima prefectural fisheries association, and they will seek approval from the local fisheries cooperative.
And if the fishermen say no, because guess what: selling glow in the dark toro tartare just happens to cut into the radioactive top and bottom-line, well... tough.
They say they also want to decontaminate ground water collected at wells near reactor buildings before releasing it into the ocean. They will apply to the government to build drainage pipes and other facilities to do so.
But the officials say they will not go ahead without the consent of the fishermen. They say their plan is an improvement on the current situation, as contaminated water is spilling directly into the ocean.
So to summarize: TEPCO will politely ask the local fishermen if it is allowed to dump thousands of tons of "decontaminated" radioactive water into the ocean, and if it doesn't get the green light, it will continue to dump thousands of tons of contaminated radioactive water into the ocean.
Surely some Keynesian professor in some radioactive Tokyo ivory tower has found a way that this idiocy will add to GDP.