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Simulation to show flow of radioactive water discharged from Fukushima

An aerial view shows the storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Feb. 13, 2021.

February 10, 2023

By Ko Dong-hwan

Korean researchers will release next Thursday the result of a simulation they have been working on to demonstrate how radioactive water discharged from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was devastated by a tsunami 12 years ago, will flow and affect the world’s oceans.

Researchers from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) said the simulation was designed to track tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen with a half-life of about 12 years. Emitted from nuclear facilities across the world, tritium is believed unfilterable even by ALPS, the advanced liquid processing system that is supposed to treat radioactive water now stored at the Fukushima plant before releasing it into the Pacific Ocean this spring.

The researchers said the simulation will likely show how tritium will spread through sea water. Tritium is one of the 64 radioactive nuclides believed to be contained in the radioactive water stored in more than 1,000 tanks with a total liquid volume of about 1.37 million cubic meters.

The presentation, jointly conducted by KIOST and KAERI, is part of the Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation’s academic forum to be held on Jeju Island from Feb. 15 to 17.

There has been a lot of speculation about why the results of the simulation are being first released at an academic conference instead of through a government briefing, raising concerns over the possibility that the Korean government may be reluctant to announce the findings for fear of damaging its diplomatic relations with its neighbor.

The researchers have stated that the presentation is “based on scientific findings and does not involve any political decisions.”

Following the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Okuma which were struck by a tsunami in 2011, the Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy Agency now plan to release some 1.3 million tons of radioactive water into the oceans over a period of 30 years starting this year. They have argued that the water will be treated by ALPS and poses no harm to the environment. But those critical of the decision say the data shared by the Japanese government with the world declaring the water’s safety is highly suspicious and lacks credibility.

The radioactive water, once discharged, is expected to flow with ocean currents around the Pacific Ocean in a clockwise direction arriving in Korean waters after about a year.

Radioactive water, even in tiny amounts, is harmful to humans after decades of exposure. The most common intake route is believed to be through food, especially seafood imported from Japan.


February 13, 2023 - Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , ,

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