Japan Releases Water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant, No Impact on Seafood
Japan has initiated the release of treated radioactive water from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant, insisting that there will be no impact on seafood. Even though the waste water contains radioactive tritium, Japanese seafood would still be safe to consume.
The Japanese government had said most radioactive elements would be filtered out of the effluent, except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen difficult to separate from water. Japanese authorities said the treated water would be diluted to well below internationally approved levels of tritium before it was pumped into the sea. They insisted the treated water is safe and urgently needed to free up space at the disabled plant.
It should be noted that the water became contaminated when it was used in March 2011 to cool three nuclear reactors that melted down after Fukushima Daiichi was hit by a powerful tsunami. The plants’ backup electricity supply was knocked out, and 160,000 people were forced to evacuate.
Now the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant marks a milestone in a long and difficult decommissioning process. The state-owned Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) expects to discharge only around 200 or 210 cubic meters of treated wastewater. It plans to then continuously release 456 cubic meters of treated wastewater over a 24-hour period and a total of 7,800 cubic meters over a 17-day period.
The operation, as per TEPCO, would be suspended immediately and investigation conducted if any abnormalities are detected in the discharge equipment or the dilution levels of the treated wastewater. Moreover, the firm will also send a boat into the harbor to collect samples to monitor, and ensure the discharged treated water meets international safety standards.
However, it hasn’t been easy for Japan to release the treated wastewater. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu accused Japan of imposing its problems on others irresponsibly after the country said it would release 1.32 million metric tonnes, equivalent to 500 Olympic swimming pools, of treated radioactive water over three decades.
China described Japan’s decision as extremely selfish and irresponsible. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the ocean is the common property of all humanity, and forcibly starting the discharge of Fukushima’s nuclear wastewater into the ocean is an extremely selfish and irresponsible act that ignores international public interests.