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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Starts 2nd Release of Treated Radioactive Wastewater

On October 5, 2023, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant initiated the second release of treated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, setting off a wave of protests, concerns, and diplomatic tensions in the region.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Starts 2nd Release of Treated Radioactive Wastewater

Also Read: Japan to Release Fukushima Water into Pacific Ocean

The Fukushima nuclear plant has been at the focal point of a long-standing environmental and humanitarian crisis since it was crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

This release is part of a contentious and complex effort to manage the 1.34 million tons of radioactive wastewater stored in approximately 1,000 tanks at the plant.

The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011 was quite possibly of the most obviously awful atomic mishap ever.

A strong tremor and ensuing tsunami caused a series of meltdowns and explosions, resulting in the release of radioactive materials into the environment.

In the aftermath of the disaster, extensive efforts were made to stabilize the situation, including the construction of a massive underground ice wall to prevent groundwater from entering the contaminated area and the removal of spent fuel rods from damaged reactor buildings.

The most common way of treating the radioactive wastewater is mind boggling and includes numerous moves toward decrease the levels of radioactive materials to safe levels.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), the plant operator, has expressed that the water is treated to meet international safety standards and then diluted with seawater to make it even safer.

Also Read: Fukushima Water Release: China Bans Seafood from Japan

Sources about Fukushima nuclear plant disaster (For R&D)

Specifically, they focus on reducing the concentration of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to levels significantly below both their own guidelines and Japan’s environmental discharge requirements.

TEPCO claims that the release of this treated water into the sea is unavoidable due to several factors. Firstly, the storage tanks at the plant are approaching their capacity, and it is estimated that they will be full by early next year.

Secondly, the decommissioning process of the Fukushima nuclear plant, which is expected to take decades, will require additional space.

These elements have driven TEPCO and the Japanese government to conclude that releasing the treated water into the sea is the most practical solution.

While TEPCO and the Japanese government keep up with that the treated water is safe for release, concerns persist, particularly among environmental experts and neighboring countries.

The release of low-level radioactive materials, such as tritium, into the ocean is unprecedented, and some scientists argue that it requires continuous monitoring to assess its impact on marine life and the environment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reviewed the safety of the wastewater release and concluded that, if carried out as planned, it would have a negligible impact on the environment, marine life, and human health.

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However, this assessment has not alleviated the anxieties of those who remain skeptical. China, one of Japan’s neighboring nations, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the wastewater discharge.

In response to the first release of treated water, China imposed a complete ban on imports of Japanese seafood. This ban has had a severe impact on Japanese seafood producers and exporters, leading to economic challenges and a decline in the reputation of Japanese seafood in international markets.

The release of treated radioactive wastewater has ignited protests and demonstrations, both domestically and internationally.

In South Korea, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to demand an end to the release of radioactive water into the ocean.

Fishing groups, environmental activists, and concerned citizens have united to voice their opposition to this ongoing action.

TEPCO is not only responsible for the wastewater release but also for providing compensation for the reputational damage caused to the region’s seafood industry by this action.

The company began accepting applications for compensation claims, primarily related to China’s seafood ban and the resulting oversupply of seafood in the Japanese market.

The volume of inquiries and claims highlights the economic and reputational consequences faced by the seafood industry due to the wastewater release.

Also Read: China’s Nuclear Submarine Accident in Yellow Sea, 55 Dead

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