Japan’s environment minister said Tuesday that the Fukushima power plant damaged in a disastrous 2011 earthquake will need to unload radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, because there’s no place left to store it.
The Tokyo Electric Power plant was destroyed by the magnitude 9.0 quake, and the company has pumped tens of thousands of tons of water to cool fuel cores, according to CNN.
The contaminated water is then kept in storage. But space is running short.
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference, according to Reuters. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
A spokesperson for the energy company told Reuters that storage space will run out in 2022. The utility said it will follow the government’s directives on how to deal with the water.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the government hadn’t settled on a strategy for dealing with the coming conundrum.
“There is no fact that the method of disposal of contaminated water has been decided," Suga said, according to CNN. “The government would like to make a decision after making thorough discussion.”