Oct 18, 2020 07:20 AM EDT
Japan’s government confirmed that it would release more than 1m tonnes of Fukushima’s Radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea. Local fishers object to such a move saying that it will destroy their industry.
The radioactively contaminated waters are being stored in more than 1,000 tanks, and release would commence in 2022, about the time when the plant’s water tanks would reach its capacity and overflow. Releasing the radioactive waters will be released gradually and is expected to be complete in decades to come.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Still frame taken from an aerial video of the Tepco 2F nuclear generating station showing its artificial harbor, turbine, and reactor buildings. Source video was shot with a GoPro Hero3 carried by a 3DR Iris+ quadcopter.(Wikimedia Commons)
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Releasing of Fukushima Radioactive Water in the Oceans
For years, there has been endless debate in Japan over what to do with the water. There other options such as evaporation or the construction of more storage tanks for the contaminated waters and holding it until it becomes less radioactive. Japanese officials, however, say that dumping the water is the best course of action.
The radioactive waters will be released into the nearby Pacific. The dumping process is expected to take decades as experts warned that the radioactive water is too dangerous to drop into the sea. Thus, the radioactive water will be diluted with clean seawater before it will be released into the waters.
In the next 30 years, the contaminated waters will be filtered, diluted so that it is 40 times less concentrated, and then gradually released to the oceans. The process is sufficient to bring down to a safe level of radioactivity, the Japanese officials assured.
Although the Tokyo Electric Company (Tepco) Advances Liquid Processing System, the plant’s processor can remove the highly radioactive substances from the water. However, they are still unable to remove tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that nuclear power plants usually dilute and discharge into the ocean. Tritium, according to experts, is only harmful to humans in substantial doses.
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Racing Against Time
The decision on the fate of the contaminated waters is under pressure as the storage space on the nuclear plant site is running out. Tepco said that all of the available tanks would be full by the summer of 2022.
Last month, 1.23 m tonnes of contaminated waters that were used to prevent the three damaged reactor cores from melting were stored in 1,044 tanks. The amount of wastewater is increasing by 170 tonnes per day.
Japan’s Local Fishers Oppose the Decision
Local fishers, however, oppose the decision, saying that releasing of radioactive waters in the sea will undo years of efforts in rebuilding the fishing industry’s reputation since a huge tsunami damaged the plant in March 2011.
Environmental groups also oppose the move. ‘
South Korea, Japan’s neighbor has banned seafood imports from the region since 2013, has repeatedly raised concern on the move saying that Japan discharging the Fukushima radioactive water poses a “grave threat” to the marine environment. South Korea’s total fish ban from Fukushima and seven other prefectures was a response to increasing public fear over the safety of marine products from the region.
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