As planned, the discharge into the ocean of the treated radioactive water contained in the tanks of the Fukushima nuclear power plant began at 13 local time (6:00 in Italy). The operation follows the announcement by the Tokyo government made earlier this week, despite the protests of neighboring countries over the possible consequences on the environment, and of local fishermen worried about the commercial effects.
China: “Selfish and irresponsible” operation
China returns to harshly criticize Japan after the start of operations, defining the move “extremely selfish and irresponsible”. This can be read in a note from the Foreign Ministry. In addition, the country has announced a ban on imports of Japanese seafood, reports the General Administration of Chinese Customs.
South Korea: “Tokyo releases transparent data on Fukushima”
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo “hopes and once again urges the Japanese government to disclose information transparently and responsibly on the water drainage process that will continue over the next 30 years”. As for public safety concerns, Han also stated that “excessive concern” is not necessary, since the defined plan for the disposal of treated water in the ocean, if carried out according to the standards and procedures in place, it shouldn’t do any significant damage. “While the ideal scenario would have been to avoid dumping contaminated water into the ocean altogether, experts around the world shared the view that excessive public concern is unnecessary,” Han continued, noting however the importance of “transparent” data dissemination and criticizing the “fake news and political exhibition” of Tokyo’s move that Seoul has publicly supported.
The more than 1,000 tanks distributed at the site of the nuclear plant hit by the triple disaster of March 2011, currently contain about 1.34 million tons of treated water, and are expected to reach their maximum capacity as early as 2024. Hence the decision of the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which will dilute the liquid with sea water, respecting the limits permitted by Japanese safety standards, before starting the discharge through an underwater tunnel located one kilometer from the site. Tepco intends to monitor the radioactive substances in the waters near the plant on the same day today and to release the data tomorrow. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ruled last month that the dumping plan is in line with global safety standards and would have a “negligible” impact on people and the environment. A judgment that however does not convince China which has blocked the import of food products from 10 prefectures to Japan and has introduced large-scale radiation tests for Japanese fish products. The South Korean government said it respects the outcome of the IAEA review based on analyzes of the Japanese plan, but will need to consider lingering concerns among the public. The Japan Fisheries Agency said it will monitor the concentration levels of radioactive substances in fish caught within a 10-kilometer radius of the plant, and the initial results are expected to be published on the agency’s website at the earliest on Saturday.