Japan Approves Plans To Dump Radioactive Fukushima Water Into The Pacific Ocean

by : Emily Brown on :
Japan Approves Plans To Dump Radioactive Fukushima Water Into The Pacific OceanPA Images

Japan has confirmed that it will dump more than one million tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. 

News of the plans emerged last week, more than a decade after the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan triggered a tsunami which flooded the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.


Radiation began to leak from the plant and authorities set up an exclusion zone around the area, where about 1.25 million tonnes of water has now accumulated.

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In a meeting today, April 13, Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga told ministers the government had decided that releasing the water into the sea was the ‘most realistic’ option and ‘unavoidable in order to achieve Fukushima’s recovery’.

The contents is made up of rain, groundwater and water used to cool the power plant and increases in quantity by about 140 tonnes a day. It is currently being stored in tanks at the site, but space is expected to run out by next autumn.


The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has said that it will struggle to decommission the plant if it is forced to keep building more storage tanks, The Guardian reports.

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In a statement regarding the decision, the government said: ‘On the premise of strict compliance with regulatory standards that have been established, we select oceanic release.’

Together with government officials, Tepco has stated that radionuclides can be reduced to levels allowed for release, though tritium, a radioactive material that is not harmful in small amounts, cannot be removed.


Speaking to reporters, Suga said the government has come up with ‘basic policies to release the processed water into the ocean, after ensuring the safety levels of the water.’ He further assured that the government is taking measures to ‘prevent reputational damage.’

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The decision is supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency as radioactive elements aside from tritium will be removed from the water or reduced to safe levels before release, with the agency pointing out that other nuclear plants use a similar process to get rid of wastewater.

However, the government has been met with a wealth of backlash from neighbouring countries and local fishers, who argue the move will make consumers wary about seafood.


China described the plan as ‘extremely irresponsible’ and claimed it came ‘without regard for domestic and foreign doubts and opposition.’ In a statement on its website, the Chinese foreign ministry said the decision ‘will seriously damage international public health and safety and the vital interests of the people of neighbouring countries.’

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Japan said releasing the water ‘completely disregards the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.’


The government has said work to release the water will begin in about two years, though it is expected to take decades to complete.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Japan, Now, Pacific Ocean, radioactive


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Fukushima: Japan announces it will dump contaminated water into sea