Fukushimas Radioactive Water Crisis

The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues, a group of civil society and student organizations, has categorically denied the veracity of a report released by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), vowing to oppose Japan’s planned mass disposal of wastewater stored at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. The strong objection comes a day after TEPCO submitted a detailed plan to the nuclear regulation authority seeking the release of accumulated wastewater into the sea. TEPCO said it would use an underwater tunnel to dispose of 1.28 million tons of contaminated water of the plant at a depth of 12 meters in the sea.

The group said that the Radiological Impact Assessment violates several issues, including laws and international nuclear treaties that protect the Pacific peoples and environment.

The collective accused Japan of wrongly prioritizing convenience and costs over the short term and long term environmental and human cost of their planned actions.

The group urged the Japanese government to develop alternatives to TEPCO’s plans for using an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) method to “treat highly radioactive wastewater to safe levels” for discharge into the Pacific Ocean.

TEPCO claimed radioactive contamination would be removed from wastewater under the ALPS method, except toxic tritium.

The Fukushima nuclear plant suffered a triple meltdown in 2011 following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

In October, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida assured people and foreign governments that Japan would address the concerns. However, the Japanese politician emphasized that the disposal of contaminated water in the ocean is the most realistic option.

The TEPCO plans to discharge the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from 2023.

The collective refutes the veracity of a number of premises advanced by the Radiological Impact Assessment (RIA) released by TEPCO on November 17, 2021, to release nuclear materials from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The Pacific is not and must not become the dumping ground for nuclear wastes.

The collective said:

We reject TEPCO’s RIA on several grounds, as outlined below:

*Objections to the Design of the Radiological Impact Assessment, including the ongoing disregard of concerns raised by Pacific leaders, governments and the Pacific Islands Forum, limited timeframe for public comments and need for an Environmental Impact Assessment in addition to a Radiological Impact Assessment.

*Global Effects on Peoples and the Environment with a specific focus on the Pacific Ocean and Pacific interests safeguarding our environmental stewardship, human health and food security.

*Contravention of Nuclear-Free Pacific International Laws and Treaties that ensure no further harm to the Pacific peoples and environment.

The Collective considers that TEPCO, and the relevant Japanese Government agencies, have wrongly prioritized convenience and costs over the short term and long term environmental and human cost of their planned actions.

The Collective calls TEPCO and the Japanese Government to embark on a comprehensive reassessment of their entire decommissioning plan.

The Collective said:

The plan to discharge into the Pacific Ocean must be abandoned, and an alternative plan developed as a matter of urgency and in principle, to cause no harm to people or the environment.

The collective recommends the following:

*That the Japanese Government and TEPCO abandon the use of the Pacific Ocean as a dumping ground for its radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, to ensure that no further harm is caused to the Pacific Ocean, it’s environment and its peoples.

*The Japanese Government and TEPCO acts in consultation with Pacific leaders and allows an independent expert review to be undertaken and overseen by the Pacific Islands Forum. Furthermore, no proposal for the discharge of such large volumes of liquid radioactive waste should be permitted in the absence of an ocean-wide Environmental Impact Assessment and the collection of relevant radiological baseline data for all areas likely to be affected.

*All appropriate alternative measures are considered by the Japanese Government and TEPCO to prevent, abate and eliminate to the fullest extent possible, the pollution of the Pacific Ocean by radioactive water, including exploring all options for maintaining storage facilities on land for the radioactive wastewater. An urgent comprehensive reassessment of the decommission plan is necessary as the first step. This should include all alternative options for safe containment, storage as well as identification of technologies that can safely treat radioactive material including the radioactive waste water proposed to be discharged into the Pacific Ocean under the current proposal.

*A better process is designed for consultation as called for by Pacific leaders and regional institutions, between the Government of Japan and its closest neighbors including Pacific Island governments and also ensuring citizens’ participation.


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