US Backs Japan’s Plan To Dump Radioactive Fukushima Water Into The Pacific Ocean
Amid global backlash, the US has supported Japan’s plan to dump radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Ten years after the catastrophic nuclear accident, the worst since Chernobyl, officials recently confirmed that more than one million tonnes of contaminated water will be released into the ocean, despite the stark warnings of environmentalists and other campaigners.
South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong appealed to Kerry to support the country’s protest, with a ministry statement reading: ‘Minister Chung conveyed our government and people’s serious concerns about Japan’s decision, and asked the US side to take interest and cooperate so that Japan will provide information in a more transparent and speedy manner.’
However, during a media roundtable the next day, Kerry said: ‘The US is confident that the government of Japan is in very full consultations with the [International Atomic Energy Agency]. The IAEA has set up a very rigorous process and I know that Japan has weighed all the options and the effects and they’ve been very transparent about the decision and the process.’
The water will be treated prior to its release, diluting the concentration of tritium to protect human health. The process would likely take around two years, followed by three decades of disposal.
Kerry, also a former secretary of state, said Japan’s plans would be monitored ‘like every country, to make certain there is no public health threat’.
He added: ‘We think we have confidence in the ability of IAEA and Japan and our relationship with the agency. We need to see how it progresses, and how they do, but we don’t think it is appropriate for the US to jump into a process that’s already underway and where there are very clear rules and expectations.’
Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso recently said the water would even be safe for human consumption, prompting a Chinese government spokesman to ask him to drink it.
However, while Greenpeace outlined its opposition and alternative methods, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said disposing wastewater into the ocean ‘is done elsewhere. It’s not something new. There is no scandal here,’ BBC News reports.
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