Japan will start releasing treated radioactive water from the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, despite opposition from its neighbours, the BBC reports.
The decision comes weeks after the UN’s nuclear watchdog approved the plan.
Some 1.34 million tonnes of water – enough to fill 500 Olympic-size pools – have accumulated since the 2011 tsunami destroyed the plant.
The water will be released over 30 years after being filtered and diluted.
Authorities will request for the plant’s operator to “promptly prepare” for the disposal to start on 24 August if weather and sea conditions are appropriate, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday after a Cabinet meeting.
The government has said that releasing the water is a necessary step in the lengthy and costly process of decommissioning the plant, which sits on the country’s east coast, about 220km (137 miles) north-east of the capital Tokyo.
Japan has been collecting and storing the contaminated water in tanks for more than a decade, but space is running out.