Japanese authorities said they were considering dumping water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. According to their statement, of all radionuclides, this water contains tritium alone, which is not dangerous to humans. Environmentalists and local fishermen are strongly opposed to this prospect.
Japan's Environment Minister said that perhaps the authorities would have to dump more than 1 million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean.
The fact is that after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, due to which the nuclear power plant was damaged, TEPCO was involved in the collection and storage of water that had previously cooled the reactor. Now the water is simply stored in several hundred tanks, although the Japanese government is trying to work out a longer-term solution. According to authorities, by 2022 the capacity of the tanks will be exhausted. Various solutions to the problem are proposed: from simply pouring the processed water into the sea to burial tanks underground and even releasing the water into the deeper layers of the earth's crust.
According to TEPCO, this water contains only the tritium hydrogen isotope, which does not cause much harm to humans. However, from the documents that The Daily Telegraph gained access to a year ago, it follows that there are still other radioactive elements in the water, including strontium, iodine, rhodium, and cobalt.
Local residents have already expressed their protest against simply pouring water into the sea. Moreover, the South Korean government addressed this issue to the IAEA. The Greenpeace organization also made a sharp protest, calling the minister’s proposal completely wrong both from a scientific and political point of view. According to environmentalists, the only acceptable option is long-term storage of water and neutralization from tritium.
Environmentalists fear that radionuclides from the sea will get into fish, and from it into the human body. In this case, strontium, for example, can accumulate in the teeth and bones and ultimately lead to bone cancer and leukemia.
Meanwhile, the water contaminated with tritium and subjected to long-term storage continues to accumulate at a rate of about 150 tons per day. Currently, about 1.05 million tons of treated water are accumulated in special containers on the territory of the Fukushima-1 NPP. TEPCO, the managing company of the nuclear power plant, continues to install new tanks, but the area where they are kept cannot be expanded, and in 2020, the maximum storage capacity will be reached.
Authorities are considering several solutions to the problem. One of them - the dilution of treated water and its gradual discharge into the ocean - caused fierce resistance from local fishermen. They fear that such action will cause significant damage to their business and their future sales.
Another possibility is to find a storage place outside the territory of a nuclear power plant. But doubts in the reality of such a scenario are expressed by TEPCO itself.
On the one hand, it would be extremely difficult to find a local administration that would be ready to host such a site. On the other hand, the company fears for the safety of transportation - there is a possibility of radioactive leakage in this process.
The final decision is to be made by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry on the basis of the recommendations of a specially created expert committee.
“The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 was an immense tragedy that sparked a global response. The international community came forward with aid to the victims and came together to address the broader concerns about nuclear security and safety.” Ban Ki-moon
We have gathered many links to assist you if you have been exposed to radiation.