The company that runs the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan said today it had suspended “as a precaution” the process of dumping treated radioactive water from the plant into the sea after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck off Fukushima prefecture. .

The process will resume later today, a Tepco representative later told AFP.

The company began a new operation on February 28 to dump into the Pacific Ocean the water stored at the Fukushima plant, after it has been treated to remove most of its radioactive substances, with the exception of tritium, which is not dangerous except in very concentrated amounts. doses.

The fourth operation to dump treated water into the sea from the Fukushima plant since the summer is expected to be completed on Sunday, according to the original schedule.

After the earthquake that occurred at 00:14 local time on Friday (17:14 Greek time on Thursday) off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, which did not cause a tsunami, “we were able to remotely confirm that there were no problems” at the facilities for diluting water containing tritium and dumping it into the ocean, Tepco clarified on social media X.

However, for “precautionary reasons, we have suspended the operations of these facilities based on predetermined operational protocols,” added Tepco, which announced a few hours later that “no problem” had been detected.

Also, no radioactive leakage was detected after the company completed the necessary verifications, as “samples taken from monitoring points remained at normal levels,” Tepco also clarified.

Shortly after the earthquake, Japan’s Nuclear Safety Authority (NRA) also announced on its website that no problems had been detected at the Fukushima nuclear facilities.

The Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, located on the Pacific coast, was severely damaged in 2011 by a giant tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake off Fukushima.

The highly complex decommissioning plan for this nuclear power plant in Japan that is underway is expected to take many more decades.

The dumping of treated water from the station into the sea has been strongly criticized mainly by Beijing, although the process has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

China responded by suspending all seafood imports from Japan last summer, followed a few months later by Russia.