On March 11th, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. The drastic shake caused three out of the six reactors to overheat. The reactors damaged meant that the water used to cool down the power plant has been contaminated. After a decade, the government finds wastewater disposal to be the only realistic way out of this situation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Director Rafael Mariano Grossi that the waste disposal is “in line” with the international practices and completely harmless. IAEA is an independent international organization that provides technical support for nuclear safety measures and makes sure that every nuclear activity is according to the policies determined.
The authorities of the plant are sure of the waste not being lethal for the sea at all and have planned to dispose of the waste material properly. According to the authorities, the wastewater will first be filtered, and all nuclear contaminants will be removed.
The wastewater was used to cool down the Fukushima power plant. But Japan, as previously warned, is running out of space to keep the waste in the plant.
The chief also explained that the wastewater discharges into the sea are nothing but “routine disposal practices” and are practiced after being tested under the environmental impact assessments.
Japan’s neighboring countries like China and South Korea are condemning the act. Environmental group Greenpeace Japan have also expressed their discontent, describing the discharge as “wholly unjustified.” The environmental group argues that the waste should be stored and used in environmentally friendly ways to make more energy resources for the nuclear plant in the long run instead of dumping it right into the sea.
Meanwhile, the US seems to be supporting Japan’s disposal move.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calls the practice an inevitable task and is all set to be released into the Pacific Ocean within two to three years.
The process of removing the contaminants will apparently remove all the harmful radioactive substances except one that is tritium. It is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and is said to be dangerous for human health. According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the isotope in small concentrations is harmless. But as the concentration of the pollutant increases, so will the risk of cancer in humans.
Japan’s decision to dispose of one million tons of fukushima wastewater in the ocean during two long years could be a possible threat globally, no matter how much the scientists guarantee that procedures be safe and sound for the environment. The most crucial setback is for the fishing industry plus the marine ecosystem itself, which will most probably suffer from the move.
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