The reality of the Fukushima radioactive water crisis
|Auteur||Shaun Burnie, Greenpeace Germany|
|Classificatie||188.8.131.52/15 (JAPAN - FUKUSHIMA (DAI’I CHI ACCIDENT))|
Uit de publicatie:
Stemming the tide 2020 The reality of the Fukushima radioactive water crisis Shaun Burnie Greenpeace Germany Overview Two years after our first report on the crisis,1 more than a million tons of radioactive water is still sitting in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, site of the catastrophic meltdown in March 2011. The Japanese government has decided that it will discharge the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, releasing strontium-90, carbon-14 and other hazardous radionuclides. It is a move that will have serious, long-term consequences for communities and the environment, locally and much further afield. Currently, discharges are planned to begin in late 2022 or early 2023, and these will continue until the mid- 2050s. The Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have constructed a series of myths to support their plan: that by 2022, there will be no further space for storage of the water; the water is not contaminated – radioactive tritium is the only radionuclide in the water and it is harmless; and there are no alternatives to discharging the water into the ocean. This report, as did our 2019 analysis, demonstrates that these statements are untrue. The Japanese government’s narrative has been created for both financial and political reasons. Not only is ocean discharge the cheapest option, it helps the government create the impression that substantial progress is being made in the early decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. But long after the Suga and Abe administrations are historical footnotes, the consequences of the nuclear disaster will remain a constant threat, most immediately to the people and environment of Fukushima, but also more widely in Japan and internationally. Any government or industry confronted by the scale and range of challenges would have struggled to manage the disaster. However, time after time, TEPCO and Japanese government bodies appear to have conspired to make the crisis worse. TEPCO’s recent admission that their processing technology is flawed, and the acknowledgement, almost 10 years after the disaster, that the water contains radioactive carbon-14 are just the latest in a long history of misreporting and cover-ups.2 There has been sustained opposition to the discharge of the contaminated water from citizens in Fukushima, commercial bodies such as Japan's national federation of fisheries cooperatives, JF Zengyoren,3 the majority of municipal assemblies in Fukushima Prefecture, and wider Japanese society. There has also been opposition from Japan’s nearest geographical neighbours, especially the Republic of Korea. However, the Japanese government continues to ignore the views of all who seek to protect the world’s oceans. After a detailed examination of the evidence, Greenpeace has concluded that the only acceptable solution is continued long-term storage and processing of the contaminated water. This is logistically possible, and it will allow time for more efficient processing technology to be deployed as well as allowing the threat from radioactive tritium to diminish naturally. It is the only way to safeguard the human rights, health and environment of the people of Fukushima, the rest of Japan and the wider international community.