Japan wants to discharge radioactive water from Fukushima into the ocean

According to Japanese Minister of Industry and Trade Hiroshi Gadjama, nothing has been officially decided yet. “But we must make a decision quickly,” Gajiyama told a news conference. The Japanese government should issue a verdict by the end of this month. During the 2011 accident, radioactive water leaked from three damaged reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and mixed with groundwater and rainwater. Although TEPCO is trying to clean it, it has not been able to remove tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

Contaminated water is currently sealed in 1,044 large tanks, but its volume is constantly increasing by 170 tons per day and the company is already running out of storage capacity. They are due to take place completely in the summer of 2022. Until then, the Japanese must get rid of it. The hazardous liquid is to be released into the Pacific gradually, and the whole process will therefore take several decades. The amount of problematic water already exceeds one million tons

However, the plan has long met with strong opposition not only from conservationists, but also from Japanese fishermen and neighboring states. In South Korea, for example, the import of fish and seafood from the area has been banned since 2013. South Korean politicians have repeatedly called the Japanese plan a “deadly threat to the environment.”

Fishermen fear that after the release of radioactive water, no one will want to buy their catches, the whole industry will be severely paralyzed and it will take years to repair its reputation. President of the National Fisheries Federation Hiroshi Kishi met with Minister Gajiyama on Thursday to persuade him to come up with a different way out.

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He also called on the domestic opposition to support the fishermen. Another problem is the fact that the Summer Olympics are to be held in Japan next year. Some sporting events will take place less than 60 kilometers from the damaged nuclear power plant.

Opinions of experts on the disposal of contaminated water differ. A group of Japanese experts recommended this spring to the local government that launching into the ocean was the most realistic solution. It is said that tritium can endanger human health only in huge doses. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, it should be possible to dilute the liquid with seawater to make it less harmful.

The accident at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred on 11 March 2011 and was the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The tragedy was caused by the flooding of the power plant with a devastating tsunami. This was caused by an extremely strong earthquake in the Tohoku area. However, TEPCO’s poor security readiness and the laxity of the Japanese authorities were also to blame.

Due to the accident, 150,000 inhabitants had to be evacuated, and the environment and agricultural land were contaminated. Direct economic losses are estimated at at least $ 15 billion, or almost $ 350 billion. Indirect ones will be significantly higher. Japan, for example, has since imported 90 percent of its electricity from abroad.


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