Japan will release nuclear plant wastewater into the ocean soon.
A decade after the Fukushima nuclear disaster — triggered by the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and following tsunami — the plant is running out of space to store tritium-containing wastewater.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has pumped about 170 tons of cooling water per day over the damaged reactor cores to prevent a meltdown over the last decade. After this is done, the water is treated and stored in on-site tanks … But the storage capacity is near full.
The water becomes contaminated with radioactive chemicals after running over the reactor cores. Most of the radioactive elements are removed after the water is treated — except tritium, which is a heavy form of hydrogen and impossible to filter out of the wastewater.
Currently, there are 1.25 million tons of tritium-containing water stored at the plant and its storage capacity is 1.37 million tons. Tritium has a half-life of about 12 years, which means it will take decades for it to fully disappear from the environment.
The Japanese government plans to dilute the tritium to a 2.5 percent concentration of radiation before releasing it into the ocean waters. This slow process could take about 40 years.
Understandably, citizens from Japan and neighboring countries are heavily protesting against it. The fishing industry has already been struggling due to reputational damage and heightened levels of dangerous elements like cesium in the fish caught near the area. Something like this could be a death blow.
The plan states that TEPCO will need to pay local fishermen who lose work but the plan doesn’t outline how the price will be determined.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef, we are upset that this is happening. The amount of contaminated water that will be released into the ocean might not only cause a potential danger to humans but to marine life as well. Who knows what kind of long-lasting effects this could have?
This is a reminder that we all — including corporations — need to think about how our actions might affect the world around us. By doing this, we could move towards a safer planet for our families and all living things.
Also … please spread our information so that your friends and family are aware, as well.
Have them watch this powerful video …
The director of this video, Amir Zakeri, created a masterclass for anyone in the Karmagawa and SaveTheReef community who would like to tell visual stories about the causes they care about. If you’re interested, here’s 50% off.
What do you think about the amount of radioactive water that will be released into the ocean in Japan? Leave a comment below.
(Cover image: Santiherllor/Shutterstock)