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Why is Japan dumping radioactive water into the ocean?

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As the Fukushima crisis passes the three-week mark, the thousands of tons of water – used to keep crippled reactors and spent-fuel pools cool – are becoming an increasing concern.

Much of the water evaporates, or else collects inside spent-fuel pools or other secure areas. But in the wake of the March 11 earthquake, water has also escaped from the damaged reactor buildings, flowing into the maintenance tunnels and basements, and then to unknown parts.

The problem now is that TEPCO does not have enough storage tank capacity at the site in which to store contaminated water. That is why the Japanese government Monday authorized Fukushima workers to release 10,000 tons of wastewater containing low-level radioactivity directly into the sea.

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