32.1 C
New Delhi
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Japan to release Fukushima Wastewater into Pacific by August 24: A Comprehensive Analysis

The current daily production of wastewater at the nuclear plant amounts to 100 cubic meters, and the existing storage tanks, which can hold approximately 1.3 million cubic meters, are projected to reach full capacity in early 2024.

Tokyo, Japan, August 22:   Officials announced today that Japan will begin to release treated radioactive wastewater from Fukushima into the ocean on August 24, following months of heightened public anxiety and pushback from many neighboring countries.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said authorities would go forward with the release on August 24 “if they encounter no obstacles”.

Discussions about the release of radioactive wastewater in the Pacific started very soon after the Nuclear disaster in 2011.

The decision to release wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean was taken after Japan received approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in July, last month.

Despite receiving an endorsement from the IAEA, the proposal has been encountering opposition from various sources, including China, South Korea, and nations in the Pacific Islands.

The plan aims to dispose of the growing volume of wastewater generated by the plant, damaged during the Fukushima disaster, and further facilitate its decommissioning.

However, concerns about potential environmental and health risks, as well as the impact on fishing industries, have fueled opposition to the plan.

Background:

Triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered a major meltdown, becoming the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chornobyl.

The majority of the radioactive wastewater is a result of cooling the three destroyed reactors, supplemented by rainwater and groundwater.

The current daily production of wastewater at the nuclear plant amounts to 100 cubic meters, and the existing storage tanks, which can hold approximately 1.3 million cubic meters, are projected to reach full capacity in early 2024.

Wastewater Disposal Process:

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been distilling the water to remove contaminants. The remaining radioactive wastewater mainly contains tritium and carbon-14, which are difficult to separate from water.

TEPCO plans to dilute the water until tritium levels fall below regulatory limits.

Japan intends to release the treated water through a pipeline extending about one kilometer into the Pacific Ocean, a process that may take several decades.

Opposition to Japan’s Proposal:

Fishermen, both within Japan and abroad, fear the potential impact on their livelihoods and fishing industries.

The governor of Tacna Province in Peru expressed doubts about Tokyo’s assurance that the discharged water would be free of contaminants, raising concerns about potential radioactive contamination and its effects on local coastal communities.

Local fishing unions in Fukushima have long opposed the plan, emphasizing the long-term consequences and uncertainties associated with the treated water’s release.

China did urge Japan to explore alternative solutions and adopt a transparent and scientifically sound approach to handling the contaminated water.

South Korea has also raised food safety concerns and maintained its ban on Fukushima seafood and agricultural produce.

Expert Opinions:

Environmental scientists suggest that the risk posed by the released wastewater to countries across the Pacific Ocean is likely to be negligible, with the risk of leaks from storage tanks during earthquakes or typhoons being of greater concern.

Some scientists highlight the need for further research on the potential long-term effects of low-dose exposure to radionuclides.

Oceanographers emphasize the possibility of tritium accumulation in fish and marine organisms, stressing the importance of evaluating the long-term environmental impact of radionuclides.

 

On August 24, the diluted water will be released through an undersea tunnel off the coast, into the Pacific Ocean. Third parties including the IAEA will monitor the discharge during and after its release.

Japan’s plan to release wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean has received support from the IAEA but has been facing resistance from various stakeholders.

However, the disposal of Fukushima’s radioactive wastewater and the concerns it has raised are shaping the ongoing debate surrounding the disposal of nuclear waste and the overall sustainability of nuclear energy plants themselves.

- Advertisement -

More articles

- Advertisement -
spot_img

Latest article

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.