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When announcing the appalling decision, the Japanese government explained that the Fukushima nuclear plant operator was running out of storage capacity.
Japan announced Tuesday that it will dump more than one million tons of contaminated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. The decision has been met with strong opposition at home and abroad, as it will threaten global marine ecosystems and food security.
The disposal of contaminated wastewater has been a decade-long problem since the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011. After suffering core meltdowns, the Fukushima plant has been generating massive amounts of radiation-tainted water.
Substances like tritium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear reactors, are hard to filter out despite using a liquid processing system.
“Tritium is light, so it could reach as far afield as the U.S. West Coast within two years,” said Ken Buesseler at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Traces of ruthenium, cobalt, strontium, and plutonium isotopes in the wastewater also raise concerns, not to mention whether Japan's plan to use a filtering process will pan out or not.
What is more worrying is the possibility that the wastewater, if dumped from Fukushima prefecture, might circle around the entire Pacific Ocean. Whether the ocean can digest or filter out the radioactive matters remains uncertain.
If the radioactive matters can't be digested or filtered out by the ocean, the situation would be dire. Once the marine ecosystem is destroyed by the wastewater, it can never be restored.
Out of this concern, many Japanese people oppose the government's plan. A poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun newspaper in January showed that 55 percent of respondents were against the government's plan to discharge contaminated radioactive wastewater into the sea.
When announcing the appalling decision, the Japanese government explained that the local nuclear plant operator was running out of storage capacity and excluded a negative impact on the environment or human health.
- No more space to storage radioactive water, so... what should we do?