Tokyo Electric Power Co. has decided to stop using all the underground tanks to store radioactive water at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told a news conference at the company's Fukushima Revitalization Headquarters in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, on April 10 that all of the water in those tanks will be transferred to surface tanks.
"We are deeply sorry for seriously troubling the public and the people of Fukushima (Prefecture)," he said in opening the news conference.
Four of the tanks currently hold 23,600 tons of radioactive water. According to Hirose and other officials, TEPCO will move 7,100 tons of the water to existing surface storage tanks, including one of the plant's filtered water tanks, between next week and early May.
The utility will also build 38 new steel tanks, with a combined capacity of 19,000 tons, and move the remaining 16,500 tons of radioactive water into them between the second half of May and early June.
The company previously only planned to transfer just over 7,000 tons of the water to existing surface tanks.
"I believe the new tanks will allow us a certain leeway in our operations," Hirose said. "We will commit ourselves fully to the task."
Hirose dismissed speculation that radioactive water could be released into the sea.
"That will absolutely never happen," the president said. "There is no change in our policy to use all available means to manage (the water)."
Hirose admitted TEPCO has yet to establish the cause of the water leaks from three of the underground storage tanks and indicated they will likely never be used in the future.
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