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South Korea demands answers over Fukushima radioactive water eventual sea dumping

No mistake, the Korean media, the Korea Times, calls it “the Fukushima radioactive water”, while the Japanese media, the Asahi Shimbun, calls it “the tainted water”…. The euphemism used by the Asahi Shimbun might be nicely poetic but it does not truthfully reflect the real dangerosity of that water for marine life!
Activists in Seoul protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Aug. 16, condemning the Japanese government for pushing ahead with promoting the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics while not clearly addressing the growing concerns over its possible plan to discharge contaminated water from Fukushima’s tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo urged to address concerns over Fukushima radioactive water
August 21, 2019
Less than a year ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics scheduled to open July 24 next year, the Japanese government is faced with the challenge of dealing with growing concerns ― raised by international bodies and neighboring countries ― over contaminated water from Fukushima’s disabled nuclear power plant.
A recent announcement by the Fukushima nuclear plant utility operator Tokyo Electric Power that it would run out of space to store radioactive water with the current tanks expected to be full by the summer of 2022, has reignited public concerns. Greenpeace claimed that Tokyo is considering discharging 1.15 million tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.
Appearing at the foreign ministry headquarters on Monday, Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul told South Korean officials that such claims were different from his government’s official position. But concerns linger over Japan’s handling of the matter.
The Japanese government is being urged to give its official statement on the issue in the near future. Tokyo has been promoting next year’s Olympics as the “recovery Olympics” to convince the international community that Japan has fully overcome the impact of the 2011 disaster of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.
Environmental activists have pointed out that radioactive contamination has still remained in the area as the Japanese government’s decontamination process was not about permanently getting rid of the pollutants but rather about moving the radioactive pollutants elsewhere.
For example, putting contaminated soil or debris into black plastic bags eventually meant scattering the pollutants back into the environment, because the vinyl bags have started to collapse with the gas of the rotten soil building up while plants also have grown inside the bags, tearing them open. This was mentioned in a March report by Maxime Polleri, a MacArthur Nuclear Security Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in Stanford University.
Polleri also said the atmospheric level of radiation in Fukushima prefecture stated in official documents by the Japanese government’s Reconstruction Agency was listed at about the same level as other major overseas cities like New York or Shanghai, but these figures of state-sponsored monitoring were highly misguided.
“The levels of radioactivity in places like New York are mostly the result of background radiation, which is naturally occurring radiation from the soil or sun. These are rays that pass through the body and leave. Fukushima, on the other hand, is dealing with the release of radionuclides, which are fission products from nuclear power plants. These radionuclides are not rays, but dust-like particles that can stick to the body and be inhaled or ingested,” he said.
Activists have called on the Japanese government to acknowledge the situation and make transparent announcements dealing with the matter, which would otherwise only lead to increased public fear.
Seoul demands answers over tainted water at Fukushima plant
August 20, 2019
SEOUL–South Korea wants to know what Japan plans to do about the enormous volume of processed but still contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The country’s Foreign Ministry on Aug. 19 called for an official reply from Japan by summoning a Japanese diplomat.
The ministry handed a statement to Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, urging Tokyo to confirm whether news reports, as well as claims by international environmental groups, were accurate regarding a plan to release treated water containing tritium, a radioactive substance, into the sea.
Nishinaga was also asked about the Japanese government’s plans for disposing of the massive amount of radioactive water stored at the nuclear complex, which suffered a triple meltdown in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The statement read that Seoul “takes seriously the issue of polluted water, as it concerns the health and safety of the two countries and effects countries linked by the sea.”
It also said Seoul seeks to cooperate with Tokyo to limit adverse affects of the tainted water.
President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party and other parties are pushing for the question of the contaminated water at the Fukushima plant as a step to counter Japan’s recent strengthening of restrictions on exports to South Korea.
The same day, lawmakers with the opposition Party for Democracy and Peace announced that radioactive material had been detected on 35 occasions from about 17 tons of processed food imported from eight Japanese prefectures over the past five years, citing data from authorities overseeing food safety.
South Korea continues to prohibit imports of seafood from those prefectures, including Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba, on the grounds that they were severely affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The legislators called for an immediate ban on imports of processed food from these prefectures out of concern for the safety of people in South Korea.
The ministry’s inquiries follow reports earlier this month that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates there will be no more room at the plant to house tanks storing the processed water by next summer.
The Japanese government believes that releasing some of the water after it is diluted is one possible option.

August 22, 2019 - Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , ,

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