Where will the 1.2 million tons of nuclear sewage from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan go? A few days ago, the International Greenpeace Organization warned that if one million tons of nuclear sewage is discharged into the ocean, the radioactive materials contained in it may damage human DNA.
Where does 1.2 million tons of nuclear sewage come from
The tsunami caused by the March 11 earthquake in Japan in 2011 interrupted the power supply of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing the nuclear power plant to lose the ability to cool three nuclear reactors.
Because nuclear fuel will generate huge decay heat, if it is not cooled in time, the nuclear fuel will melt and eventually lead to nuclear leakage.
In response to the accident, Tokyo Electric Power Company adopted the method of injecting water into the nuclear reactor to achieve the purpose of cooling.
Over the years, thousands of tons of sea water and fresh water have been injected into nuclear reactors, and these waste water contaminated with radioactive nuclear elements are stored in 1,000 large water storage tanks at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. At present, it has reached more than 1.2 million tons.
According to Japan’s “Yomiuri Shimbun” report, at the current rate of adding 140 tons of polluted water every day, Tokyo Electric Power Company estimates that storage space will be used up in September 2022.
Different opinions on how to dispose of nuclear sewage in Japan
How to dispose of these nuclear sewage has always been a big problem for the Japanese government. The Minister of Environment of Japan previously stated that the best solution is to discharge into the ocean.
This plan is expected to take two years to prepare. It will take about 30 years for all 1.2 million tons of nuclear sewage to be processed and discharged into the sea.
The “Yomiuri Shimbun” poll shows that 50% of Japanese citizens disagree with the plan to “discharge nuclear sewage into the sea”, and local environmentalists and representatives of the fishery industry strongly oppose it.
The Japanese civil organization “Nuclear Energy Citizens Committee” issued a public statement on October 20, protesting the discharge of nuclear sewage into the ocean.
Local fishermen in Fukushima told Kyodo News Agency: “We are very worried that once sewage is discharged into the ocean, if any fish fail to meet safety standards, it will be a catastrophic blow to our industry.”
Under pressure from all parties, on October 23, the Japanese government stated that it would postpone its plan on how to deal with nuclear sewage.
The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama said: “In order not to delay the decommissioning plan of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, we must deal with the growing nuclear sewage problem as soon as possible.”
At the same time, he admitted that the authorities need to respond to various objections.
What is the impact of nuclear sewage into the sea
In August of this year, the American “Science” magazine published an article saying that the Fukushima nuclear sewage contains a variety of radioactive components, including an isotope tritium, which is very high in content and difficult to remove.
Another isotope, carbon 14, is easily absorbed by marine organisms. The physiological concentration of carbon 14 in fish can reach 50,000 times that of tritium. These radioactive materials are potentially toxic to humans.
According to CNN, TEPCO recently issued a statement arguing: “The carbon 14 content measured in nuclear sewage per liter is between 2 and 220 becquerels. Even if you drink two liters of water per day, The amount that enters the body is only 0.001 to 0.11 millisieverts. Such an amount will not affect human health.”
nuclear sewage is not harmful to humans
In response, Greenpeace International retorted: “For many years, the Japanese government has deliberately concealed detailed information about the radioactive substances in nuclear sewage.
They did not explain to the Japanese people and neighboring countries that they are about to be dumped into the sewage of the Pacific Ocean. The content of 14 and tritium has reached dangerous levels.”
“Science” magazine also pointed out that once nuclear sewage is discharged into the sea, it will cause serious pollution to the marine environment, and radioactive materials may spread to the entire Pacific Ocean and even the global marine environment.
A German marine scientific research institution once calculated and modeled the spread of nuclear sewage in Fukushima.
The results showed that radiation will spread to most of the Pacific within 57 days, and the United States and Canada will be polluted in only three years.
“These harmful elements and other radioactive nuclear waste will harm the environment for thousands of years, and may cause damage to human DNA.” Greenpeace International said, “This is why we oppose the discharge of nuclear sewage into the Pacific.”
Nuclear sewage treatment Japan’s neighbors pay close attention to
South Korea has always paid close attention to how Japan deals with nuclear pollution. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident occurred in 2011, South Korea banned the import of local seafood.
Last year, South Korea even summoned senior officials from the Japanese Embassy in South Korea to ask for specific explanations on how to deal with wastewater from nuclear power plants.
In response to the recent plan for Fukushima nuclear sewage to enter the sea, the “Korea Times” criticized the Japanese government’s plan with the topic “cheap but dangerous”, pointing out that it was a “disaster that destroys the marine ecosystem environment.”
The report pointed out that the tritium element in Fukushima nuclear sewage cannot be removed even after repeated treatment. This radioactive element can cause cell damage and deformation. If it accumulates in the human body for a long time, it will eventually lead to cancer.
Discharging nuclear sewage will cause ecological disaster
The “Korea Herald” published an article stating that the nuclear sewage discharged into the sea will first reach the southern waters of South Korea, not the coast of Japan, so it will have a huge impact on South Korea. Jeju Governor Won Heirong warned that if TEPCO plans to discharge nuclear sewage, the Jeju Provincial Government will file a lawsuit against TEPCO in domestic and international courts. Yuan Xilong called on the Japanese government to disclose all information related to nuclear sewage and discuss with neighboring countries how to solve the problem.
On October 19, people protested the discharge of nuclear sewage in front of the Japanese Embassy in South Korea
A few days ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China also responded quickly, urging the Japanese government to thoroughly assess the possible impact of the Fukushima nuclear sewage treatment plan and make cautious decisions based on full consultation with neighboring countries.