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Fukushima waste: China, South Korea, Russia kick, summon Japanese envoys to warn of consequences

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By IKENNA EMEWU

China has summoned the Japanese ambassador to China and lodged solemn representations against the Japanese government’s decision to dump the nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

Also, the South Korean foreign ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to protest against the same decision of the Japanese government.

Further to the two summons and formal complaints, another neighbour to Japan, Russia is not at ease with the decision. Therefore, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson made a statement to criticize Japan for the decision. 

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) demanded that an independent expert review regarding the decision be undertaken to the satisfaction of all PIF members. 

The cycle of fear spread further as the Philippine presidential spokesperson said that nations behind environmental pollution should pay for the damage.

Chinese media said that the Japanese government has abandoned the basic principles of international morality and justice with its extremely irresponsible decision to dump nuclear wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

It regretted that the unilateral decision of Japan, which was not made out of absolute necessity, has aroused strong denunciation from the international community.

“It is well known that the Japanese government did not exhaust all the means of safe disposal, yet it decided to risk global public health and safety and the vital interests of the people of Japan’s neighbors in total disregard of widespread doubts and opposition from the international community.

Ray Lei, Greenpeace South East Asia Head of Research at Fukushima on duty call over pollution. He has been there many times since 2011 to his risk for a safer environment. PHOTO CREDIT: GREENPEACE

So far, there is no precedent in the world for discharging water contaminated in nuclear accident into the sea. The wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the highest-level nuclear accident is entirely different from the wastewater produced from the normal operation of nuclear power plants.

China further said that the claim of the Japanese side that the nuclear wastewater is safe was solely based on data unilaterally released by the country. However, such data is less than convincing, considering that Japan’s nuclear power industry has been faced with unceasing problems during the past decades, and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), the owner and operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has frequently appeared in scandals and long been covering up safety loopholes through means including tampering with data, along with its frequent accidents.

An earlier review report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert team pointed out that if the wastewater containing tritium from the Fukushima nuclear plant is discharged into the sea, it will affect the marine environment and the health of people in neighboring countries and that the treated wastewater needs to be further purified to remove other radionuclides.

With the world’s strongest currents along the coast of Fukushima, radioactive materials could spread to most of the Pacific Ocean within 57 days from the date of discharge, and reach all oceans of the globe in a decade, according to a German marine scientific research institute.

Greenpeace nuclear experts said that the level of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in the wastewater will remain hazardous for thousands of years and have the potential to cause genetic damage.

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