Japan Set To Dump Radioactive Fukushima Water Into The Pacific Ocean
Japan is looking to dump radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Debate over how to dispose more than one million tonnes of the liquid has been ongoing for years; a grim spectre of the 2011 tsunami that crashed into the power station. Around 18,500 people died or disappeared as a result of the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami, with hundreds of thousands evacuated from their homes.
While the facility’s cooling systems initially held up against the natural disaster, it later failed, leading to a meltdown and a huge amount of radioactive material being released into water. It was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is now looking to crack down and decide the fate of the water still stored at the plant, with plans to release it into the ocean – despite staunch opposition from environmentalists, fishermen and other groups, The Japan Times reports.
Suga recently met with Hiroshi Kishi, president of the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, who warned such an action may cause damage to the fishing industry, with people likely to be put off by the knowledge of food being caught in radioactive waters. The prime minister will make a formal decision by next Tuesday, April 13.
The PM reportedly said: ‘The disposal of ALPS-treated water [the process by which radioactive water is treated at the plant] is unavoidable and experts have recommended that the release into the sea is the most realistic method that can be implemented. Based on these inputs, I would like to decide the government’s policy.’
Trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, who also sat in the meeting, said Suga has asked for as much cooperation as possible while the government deliberated over what to do with the water. ‘What to do with the ALPS treated water is a task that the government can no longer put off without setting a policy,’ he said.
It’s said the water will take two years of preparation before it could actually be released into the ocean, after which it would take around 30 years to safely dispose of it all. The concentration of tritium in the water would need to be diluted to around 1/40th of the maximum set out by national standards, in order for it to not affect human health.
As well as opposition from fishermen, the general public is against the plan, with a recent survey showing 51% of respondents to be against it, with only 18% in support.
Greenpeace earlier claimed ‘the only acceptable solution is continued long-term storage and processing of the contaminated water’.
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