Japan to start releasing 1 million tonnes of contaminated Fukushima water into sea in 2 years

The entire disposal process will take 30 years.

Syahindah Ishak | April 13, 2021, 04:04 PM

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Japan has announced that it will dispose more than a million tonnes of treated radioactive water accumulating at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Poses no safety concerns

According to Kyodo News, the Japanese government has determined that the water poses no safety concerns.

Japan's prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has formalised the decision after he held a meeting with other ministers on Tuesday (April 13).

Suga said, as reported by The Guardian, that releasing the contaminated water into the sea was the "most realistic" option.

He explained that it is necessary to decommission the nuclear plant and reconstruct the Fukushima area since it was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Suga has also vowed to ensure transparency behind the process, reported The Straits Times.

The Japanese government had initially intended to finalise its decision in October 2020.

However, it needed more time to convince the local fishermen of its plan.

How will it be released?

International media reports stated that the first release of the contaminated water will take place in about two years.

This allows plant operator Tokyo Electric Power time to begin filtering the water to remove harmful isotopes, build infrastructure and acquire regulatory approval.

The entire disposal process is expected to take 30 years to complete.

The process has met international standards and has been backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kyodo News reported.

The U.S. has also expressed its support of Japan's decision and said that it looks forward to Japan's coordination with IAEA.


However, neighbouring countries have opposed Japan's decision.

According to Reuters, China's foreign ministry has deemed Japan's decision "irresponsible".

China also argued that the plan will "seriously damage" international public health and safety, and the interests of people in neighbouring countries.

South Korea has expressed similar concerns, saying that Japan's decision could affect the safety of its people and environment.

Taiwan has also expressed concern, reported Reuters.

Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, have opposed releasing the water into the sea, claiming that the water could damage human DNA.

Local fishermen in Japan have also disagreed with the plan, worried that consumers will refuse to buy produce from them.

Top photo via Getty Images.