As if the Fukushima disaster wasn’t catastrophic enough, the company responsible for cleaning up the mess is planning to dump 580 barrels of radioactive hydrogen into the Pacific Ocean.
The radioactive waste, known as tritium, has already ruined 777,000 tons of water, which was used to cool down the nuclear plant’s damaged reactors, after the Japan Tsunami triggered Fukushima disaster six years ago.
The tsunami caused three nuclear meltdowns and led to hydrogen-air explosions, which released the deadly radioactive material in Units 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2o11.
After this disaster, the Japanese government imposed no-entry in the area, while initiating a £14 billion cleanup operation to decontaminate the radioactive waste, and make the region fit for habitation again.
However, the latest reveals about the clean-up operation are appalling, and have rightly caused outrage among the locals. The people at the forefront of the protest are particularly those working in the fishing and tourism industries.
Head of a local fishermen cooperative, Kanji Tachiya, said in a statement,
“Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught.”
Takashi Kawamura, who is the chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), is leading the cleanup operations, and is behind the decision of dumping waste into the ocean. He says that ‘the decision has already been made’, despite the protest from environmentalists, according to the Japan Times.
TEPCO needs government’s permission to release the dump, but iterates that they have no other choice, but to use this measure. Mr. Kawamura added:
“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state.”
The company assured that dumping tritium poses little danger to humans, unless it is in high quantities. According to NRA chairman Tanaka, the current chemical composition is
‘so weak in its radioactivity that it won’t penetrate plastic wrapping’.
However, environmental activists are looking ahead, and they argue that dumping the tritium-laced water into the sea would set a dangerous precedent and would normalize the act of dumping radioactive material into the oceans, according to Aileen Mioko-Smith of Green Action Japan.
Locals now watch and anxiously wait on how the government proceeds. What do you think about all of this? Share with us in the comments section below.