Japan’s government announced yesterday it would start releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years’ time. The move is fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and Japan’s neighbours. The decision, long speculated at but delayed for years because of safety worries and protests, came during a meeting of cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), and government officials say tritium, which is not harmful in small amounts, cannot be removed from the water, but all other selected radionuclides can be reduced to releasable levels. Some scientists say the long-term impact on marine life from low-dose exposure to such large volumes of water is unknown. The government stresses the water’s safety, calling it “treated” not “radioactive”, even though radionuclides can only be reduced to disposable levels, not to zero. The amount of radioactive material that would remain in the water is unknown.
Irish Independent 14th April 2021 read more »
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga aims to speed up the decommissioning of the Tokyo Electric Power Company plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. Suga said at the meeting: “Disposal of ALPS treated water is an unavoidable issue in order to proceed with the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and achieve the reconstruction of Fukushima.” He continued: “We will aim to ensure safety that is higher than existing standards. The government will make all-out efforts to deal with unfounded rumours.”
Power Technology 13th April 2021 read more »
A fifth of the UK’s energy comes from nuclear but opposition to the power source persists. Environmentalists say the best argument against nuclear energy are Fukushima and Chernobyl. They say whilst the risks of accidents are tiny, the impact if something goes wrong can be devastating – and the fall-out over what to do with millions of tonnes of water used to cool the power station at Fukushima illustrates that global public confidence in nuclear energy still needs repair. There are always going to be bigger safety concerns about nuclear energy compared to say wind or solar. That coupled mainly with cost issues means environmental groups like Greenpeace are opposed to the building of new nuclear power stations.
Sky News 13th April 2021 read more »
Fukushima disaster: what happened at Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and why is Japan releasing radioactive water? Water has been used to cool the power plant’s reactors since a tsunami destroyed them in 2011.
Scotsman 13th April 2021 read more »
Japan has said that it will pump more than a million tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific, provoking angry protests from fishermen and other east Asian countries. Beginning in two years’ time, the waste water will be released into the sea over a period of 30 years. It will be treated and diluted to remove most radioactive contaminants but will still contain traces of the radioactive isotope tritium. “Disposal of the treated water is an unavoidable challenge for the decommissioning of the plant,” Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese prime minister, said at a cabinet meeting. “The government concluded that the ocean release is a realistic method.” In theory, filtering can remove all the radioactive elements except for tritium, which is routinely released into the sea in diluted form from nuclear plants around the world. But trace elements of more dangerous radioactive substances, including strontium-90 and iodine-129, have also been detected in the water.
Times 13th April 2021 read more »
Greenpeace Says Japan’s Plan to Contaminate Pacific Ocean With Fukushima Water Would Violate International Law. “The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes.”
Common Dreams 13th April 2021 read more »