By Yokohama, Japan correspondent Ishni Sunshi
Just over 4 years after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi and its cash-strapped owner TEPCO has spun off a marketing division to start selling its low-radiation water from its 300,000 tonne stockpile of ALPS-treated water under the TEPZILLA brand. While TEPCO isn’t permitted to dump the purified water into the rather more radioactive ocean, the treated water meets all the requirements of safe bottled water for human consumption.
TEPCO describes ordinary tap water as more risky to drink due to chlorination, fluoridation and radioactive minerals; and other commercial spring and mountain waters too hazardous for human consumption by some Japanese standards. TEPZILLA will have its radiation-controlled water in 300 ml bottles on the shelves for this coming the summer in Japan. Standard TEPZILLA is guaranteed to have less than 10 Bq/litre with the Premium grade less than 1 Bq/litre. For comparison; EU Standards (European Communities Regulations, S.I. No. 225) for drinking water allows 100 Bq/litre; so even TEPZILLA Standard water is vastly less radioactive.
The price of confidence is high: 300 ml of Standard is set to sell for ¥297 and a 300 ml bottle of premium costing ¥593. A large proportion of the costs is due to the tamper-evident, holographic cap seals of the bottles which also incorporate a disposable radiation dosimeter to be worn overnight so that e.g. radiated refugees sharing the same bed can be unmasked. Demand is expected to be high despite the high price thanks to radiation risks awareness provided by Japan’s government and global media over the past 4 years.
Marketing to other countries isn’t planned due to the risks of the water becoming radioactively contaminated during shipment.