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Fukushima farmers fear nuclear-tainted water’s impact on business

A decade on, Fukushima farmers fear nuclear-tainted water’s impact on business, Channel Newa Asia, 5 Nov 21,  WAKI, Japan: Fukushima farmers fear the Japanese government’s planned release of water from the crippled power plant could revive concerns about contamination and again hit the price of their produce, undoing a decade of slow recovery from nuclear disaster.

Japan plans to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the plant in the country’s northeast into the sea after treating it, as the site reaches storage limits for the water. Although international authorities support the plan, it has sparked concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried local fisherman and farmers.

“We’re just about seeing our prices go back to normal after a big drop following the disaster, but now we will have to deal with the potential reputational damage all over again because of the release of the water,” said Hiroaki Kusano, a pear farmer and vice-leader of the local agricultural co-operative.

The water is to be processed to remove radioactive contamination other than from tritium, which cannot be removed. Water with the radioactive isotope diluted to one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking water will be released into the Pacific a kilometre out from the plant around spring 2023, under a government plan.

Nuclear plants worldwide routinely release water containing tritium, considered the least-toxic byproduct of atomic power…………….

DECOMMISSIONING

The Daiichi plant is being decomissioned as part of a clean-up by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) expected to take decades,

Some 1,000 tanks, each 12m tall, crowd the site and hold enough radioactive water to fill around 500 Olympic-sized swimming polls. The release of water that once passed through contaminated areas of the plant marks a milestone in decommissioning and will free up space for the clean-up.

……………… Tepco will compensate for damages related to the water release, said Junichi Matsumoto, a company official overseeing decommissioning work. Tepco says it has so far paid out some ¥10.1 trillion (US$89 billion) in damages from the crisis…

There are additional concerns because the Fukushima water has been sitting around for years, said Toru Watanabe, a radioactivity researcher at the Fukushima Fisheries and Marine Science Research Center.

“The water has been in those tanks for a long time. The quality of that water needs to be thoroughly understood before it’s released,” he said.

Farmers say there is not much they can do once the water is released. They worry about their tough customers – Japanese shoppers are famously picky about produce and pay close attention to freshness and place of origin…   https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/decade-fukushima-farmers-fear-nuclear-tainted-waters-impact-business-2293361

November 6, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, Japan, oceans

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