Seoul: Japan’s plan to dump radioactive waste water from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean will endanger marine life and contaminate the waters, a South Korean green activist said.
“Eleven years has passed since the Fukushima power plant accident occurred, but its radioactive contamination has not been mitigated much,” Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, a green advocacy group in Seoul, told Xinhua news agency.
The group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare showed that cesium was detected from 8 per cent of Japanese fishery products.
“If radioactive waste water is discharged into the ocean, it will endanger marine products and deepen marine contamination further. The contaminated water will inevitably spread into the Pacific Ocean, polluting oceans in neighbouring countries (of Japan),” said Ahn.
The Japanese government planned to release about 1.25 million tonnes of nuclear waste water into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.
Japan has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a lower concentration, but Ahn said the claim repeatedly proved wrong as the purification equipment cannot eliminate radioactive materials completely.
The activist said the dilution with water cannot lessen the total amount of contamination, calling the irradiated sewage discharge “the worst way to resolve” as it can never be retrieved after being released into the ocean.
“The ocean is not a wastebasket. The international community should urge the Japanese government with one voice to stop its irresponsible push for the contaminated water discharge into the ocean, and find safer ways,” said Ahn.
He added that neighbouring countries, including South Korea, may consider forming a consultative body to make concerted efforts to tackle the issue.
The incoming South Korean government of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has reportedly planned to sternly deal with the tritium-laced water release by Japan.
The Yoon government will strengthen radiation checks and the country origin mark of imported marine products while expanding the origin labeling in restaurants.
The outgoing Moon Jae-in government has completely banned the import of marine products caught in the Japanese waters near the Fukushima prefecture.