Japan approves plan to dump Fukushima water into sea

Darnell Taylor
April 13, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has endorsed the release, which it says is similar to disposal of waste water at nuclear plants elsewhere in the world.

"We strongly urge the Japanese side to recognize its responsibilities, adopt a scientific attitude, fulfill its worldwide obligations and respond to the serious concerns of the global community, neighboring countries and its own people", said the spokesperson.

Under a report of the basic plan adopted by the ministers today, TEPCO will start releasing the water in about two years after building a facility under the regulatory authority's safety requirements.

He said the release would happen only "after ensuring the safety levels of the water" and alongside measures to "prevent reputational damage".

"This approach is extremely irresponsible and will seriously damage worldwide public health and safety and the vital interests of the people of neighbouring countries", the foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

The water is treated using an advanced liquid processing system to remove most contaminants and stored in tanks on the complex premises.

China said Japan's plan would be damaging to public health and complained Tokyo had made a decision to dispose of the nuclear waste water "without regard for domestic and foreign doubts and opposition".

Work takes places in the damaged No. 4 reactor unit in 2013
Work takes places in the damaged No. 4 reactor unit in 2013 Credit EPA

Right after Suga's announcement, the South Korean government expressed "strong regret" over Tokyo's decision.

"To safeguard global public interests and Chinese people's health and safety, China has expressed grave concern to the Japanese side through the diplomatic channel", Zhao said Monday.

Noting that the Fukushima nuclear accident is one of the most serious ones in the world so far, the spokesperson said that the accident caused a large amount of radioactive material to leak, which has had a profound impact on the marine environment, food safety and human health.

In a virtual press briefing to local media in March, a Japanese government official said Tokyo can not continue to delay the disposal of contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant due to tank storage limits. "There is no scandal here", IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said previous year.

Anti-nuclear activist group Greenpeace hit out at Japan's government for having "once again failed the people of Fukushima". The process, however, can not remove tritium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear reactors.

"Releasing the water into the ocean will return to haunt us", they said.

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