Fukushima: Japan announces that it will dump radioactive water into the sea this year

Fukushima Japan announces that it will dump radioactive water into the sea this year
Fukushima Japan announces that it will dump radioactive water into the sea this year
Khushbu Kumari

Tokyo's decision has caused discomfort among its Pacific neighbors, who consider that it is breaking agreements signed just a couple of years ago.

Japan will dump into the sea this year more than a million tons of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The waters have been treated and present levels of radioactivity that are within the provisions of national legislation, the Japanese authorities assured.

Despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) affirmed that the measure is safe, neighboring countries have expressed their concern.

The 2011 Fukushima disaster was the worst nuclear accident since the one recorded at the Ukrainian Chernobyl power plant in 1986.

Decommissioning of the plant, which was destroyed by the tsunami that triggered the great 2011 earthquake, has already begun but could take four decades.

With date on the calendar

“We expect the spill to happen sometime between spring and summer,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Friday, adding that the government will wait for a “comprehensive report” from the IAEA before carrying out the spill.

Every day, the plant produces 100 cubic meters of contaminated water, which is a mixture of groundwater, seawater and water used to keep the reactors cool.

The liquid is filtered and stored in tanks. However, with more than 1.3 million cubic meters at the facility, storage space is running low.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been filtered from the water, but the tritium level is above the national norm, they admitted from the Tepco company, which operated the damaged plant.

Experts say that tritium is very difficult to remove from water and is only harmful to humans in large doses.

Criticism from within and without

However, neighboring countries and local fishermen oppose the proposal, approved by the Japanese government in 2021.

The Pacific Islands Forum has criticized Japan for a lack of transparency.

“The peoples of the Pacific are coastal peoples, and the ocean continues to be a fundamental part of their way of life, of subsistence,” declared the secretary general of the regional organization, Henry Puna, to the Stuff news website.

“Japan is reneging on the commitment its leaders made when we held our high-level summit in 2021,” he said.

“It was agreed that we would have access to all independent and verifiable scientific evidence before this spill occurred. Unfortunately, Japan has not cooperated,” Puna added.

On March 11, 2011, northeast Japan was struck by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on the Richter scale, followed by a giant tsunami.

The waves hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, flooding three of its reactors and triggering a major catastrophe.

The authorities established an exclusion zone that grew as radiation leaked from the plant, forcing the evacuation of more than 150,000 people from the area. The exclusion zone is still standing today.

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