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Japan’s Plan To Discharge Water From Fukushima Nuclear Plant Faces Pacific Opposition

  By BenarNews, By Stephen Wright

Officials from Pacific island nations will meet Japan’s prime minister in March in an effort to halt the planned release of water from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, a regional leader said.

Plans to dispose of Fukushima water over four decades are a source of tension between Japan and Pacific island nations and a possible complication for the efforts of the United States and its allies to show a renewed commitment to the Pacific region as China’s influence grows.

The planned discharges “are a very serious issue that our leaders have accepted must be stopped at all costs,” Henry Puna, secretary-general of the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, said Thursday at a press conference in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara.

The Japanese government’s timetable for disposal of Fukushima water indicates that releases could begin as soon as April this year – part of an effort to decommission the stricken power station over several decades. Water contaminated by the nuclear reactors damaged in a 2011 tsunami is stored in dozens of large tanks at the coastal Fukushima plant.  

Japan’s method involves putting the contaminated water through a purification process known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System, which it says will reduce all radioactive elements except tritium to below regulatory levels. The treated water would then be diluted by more than 100 times to reduce the level of tritium – radioactive hydrogen used to create glow-in-the-dark lighting and signs……………………………

Data doubts

Five scientists working with the Pacific Islands Forum last week criticized the quality of data they had received from Tokyo Electric on the treated water in the tanks and expressed doubts about how well the purification process works.

Over more than four years, only a quarter of tanks had been tested for radiation, and testing rarely covered more than nine types of radiation out of 64 types that should be tested for, said the five scientists, who include Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s senior scientist Ken Buesseler.

“The accident is not over; this is not normal operations for a reactor. Therefore, extraordinary efforts should be made to prove operations are safe and will not cause harm to the environment,” the scientists’ presentation said.

The Pacific Islands Forum has described the scientists as independent nuclear experts. The forum’s secretariat didn’t respond to a question about whether the scientists are compensated for their work with the forum. 

Nigel Marks, a materials scientist at Australia’s Curtin University and former nuclear reactor engineer, who is not advising the forum, said he is sympathetic to concerns that Tokyo Electric’s data could be more complete.

“But at the same time some recognition for Japan’s unique situation must be acknowledged,” he said. “The authorities have done their very best that technology allows. Eventually they reach a point where there is too much water to store.”

Puna said the Pacific islands delegation would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida around March 7. They want a delay in water releases, at the very least, while more research is carried out, he said.

“There are serious gaps in the scientific evidence on the safety or otherwise of the proposed release,” Puna said. “I am pleased that the Japanese prime minister has finally agreed to meet with a high-level delegation from our region.” 

Decades of Fukushima water discharges, Puna said, could “damage our livelihoods, our fisheries livelihoods, our livelihood as people who are dependent very much and connected to the ocean in our culture and identity.” 

Mihai Sora, a Pacific analyst at Australia’s Lowy Institute, said it’s hard to imagine a more alarming proposition for Pacific island nations given the “toxic legacy” of nuclear weapons testing and waste dumping in the Pacific. 

The timing, amidst regional geopolitical competition that has traditional powers falling over themselves to demonstrate who’s a better partner to the Pacific, could scarcely be worse,” Sora said. 

The United States, United Kingdom and France carried out more than 300 nuclear detonations in the Pacific from 1946 to 1966, according to the International Disarmament Institute at Pace University in New York, which exposed thousands of military personnel and civilians to radiation and made some atolls uninhabitable. 

“Decades of hard-won regional goodwill towards Japanese Pacific engagement are at risk with this single policy initiative,” Sora said……………….

Japan’s embassy in Suva, Fiji didn’t respond to a request for comment. https://www.eurasiareview.com/28012023-japans-plan-to-discharge-water-from-fukushima-nuclear-plant-faces-pacific-opposition/

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January 29, 2023 Posted by | Japan, OCEANIA, oceans, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Don’t dump on us

Japan has also benefited from the (inevitable) support of the (nuclear power-promoting) International Atomic Energy Agency, an organization that never met a nuclear danger it couldn’t downplay. The agency has described the proposed discharges as “far below the Japanese regulatory limits,” in a statement last April.

Pacific Islanders, marine scientists, urge Japan not to dump Fukushima radioactive water into ocean

By Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear International, 24 Jan 23,

The nuclear power industry has a long history of disproportionately impacting people of color, Indigenous communities and those living in the Global South. As Japan prepares to dump more than 1 million tonnes of radioactive water from its stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant site into the Pacific Ocean some time this year, history is about to repeat itself.

To remind us of that — and to warn against this reckless and entirely unnecessary action (Japan could and should expand the cask storage pad on site and keep storing the radioactive water there) — the leader of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has spoken out.

In a recent column in the UK daily newspaper, The Guardian, Henry Puna wrote that “continuing with ocean discharge plans at this time is simply inconceivable”, given how directly it once again discriminates against — and will likely seriously harm the health of — the peoples of the Pacific. Puna took care to remind readers “that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living.”

Going forward with the dump without further study and serious consideration of viable alternatives, would, Puna said, mean that “the region will once again be headed towards a major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others.” Victims of years of atomic testing, Pacific Islanders are rightly not ready to be dumped on yet again.

Tepco and the lapdog Japanese government announced last May that they would release around 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive waste water from the Fukushima site next spring. Recently, authorities suggested the dump could be delayed until the summer but seem undeterred by the loud chorus of opposition from multiple quarters.

The plant produces 100 cubic metres of contaminated water daily, a combination of groundwater, seawater and water used to keep the reactors cool. The water is theoretically filtered to remove most harmful isotopes, other than tritium, which is radioactive hydrogen and cannot be separated from water. It is then stored in casks on site where authorities claim they are running out of space. However, independent watchdogs are not convinced that the filter system has successfully removed other dangerous radioactive isotopes from the waste water.

Most recently, the 100-member American group, the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), expressed its fervent opposition in a strongly worded position paper released last month. Their opposition, they wrote, “is based on the fact that there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety. Furthermore, there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”

The report went on: “The proposed release of this contaminated water is a transboundary and transgenerational issue of concern for the health of marine ecosystems and those whose lives and livelihoods depend on them. We are concerned about the absence of critical data on the radionuclide content of each tank, the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which is used to remove radionuclides, and the assumption that upon the release of the contaminated wastewater, ‘dilution is the solution to pollution.’”

The scientists accused Japan of ignoring the inevitable processes of bioaccumulation and bioconcentration, which contradict the dilution contention. The Association also called out what it saw as shoddy or incorrect science conducted by Tepco and the Japanese government, including “flaws in sampling protocols, statistical design, sample analyses, and assumptions, which in turn lead to flaws in the conclusion of safety and prevent a more thorough evaluation of better alternative approaches to disposal.”

Japan has consistently rejected on-going onsite storage — presumably due to the expense, given the land space is there and more casks could be provided. In the view of some, the eagerness to dump the water— largely contaminated with tritium (a form of radioactive hydrogen that cannot be separated from water) and likely other undeclared radionuclides — is a public relations exercise to make the problem “go away” and restore normal optics to the site. The site cannot also be fully decommissioned so long as the tanks are there.

Japan has also benefited from the (inevitable) support of the (nuclear power-promoting) International Atomic Energy Agency, an organization that never met a nuclear danger it couldn’t downplay. The agency has described the proposed discharges as “far below the Japanese regulatory limits,” in a statement last April.

After sending in a task force and several earlier reports, the IAEA released a new report in December in which it said “the IAEA will conduct its own independent checks of the radiological contents of the water stored in the tanks and how it will analyse environmental samples (for example seawater and fish) from the surrounding environment.” However, the IAEA has not expressed opposition to the dumping of the radioactive water even now and instead indicates that its safety reviews will continue “before, during, and after the discharges of ALPS treated water.”

Japan has faced down opposition from fishermen and environmentalists, particularly from those in the Marshall Islands who have suffered decades of horrific health issues, especially birth defects, after enduring 67 US atomic tests there. A Pacific region collective advocacy group, Youngsolwara Pacific, expressed dismay that the Japanese, of all people, would not empathize with them and condemn the Fukushima water dump…………………………..  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2023/01/24/dont-dump-on-us/

January 27, 2023 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

In the Pacific, Outcry Over Japan’s Plan to Release FukushimaWastewater.

The proposal has angered many of Japan’s neighbors,
particularly those with the most direct experience of unexpected exposure
to dangerous levels of radiation. Tanks are storing radioactive water at the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

The government plans to
release the water, treated, but still slightly radioactive, into the
Pacific starting in spring 2023. Every day at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
plant in Japan, officials flush over a hundred tons of water through its
corroded reactors to keep them cool after the calamitous meltdown of 2011.
Then the highly radioactive water is pumped into hundreds of white and blue
storage tanks that form a mazelike array around the plant. For the last
decade, that’s where the water has stayed.

But with more than 1.3 million
tons in the tanks, Japan is running out of room. So next year in spring, it
plans to begin releasing the water into the Pacific after treatment for
most radioactive particles, as has been done elsewhere.

 New York Times 30th Dec 2022

January 1, 2023 Posted by | Japan, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than estimated

Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than estimated according
to a new model that takes into account the unique interaction between ice
and water at the island’s fjords.

Live Science 19th Dec 2022

https://www.livescience.com/greenland-glacier-melt-model

December 25, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Pilgrim power plant owner Holtec still considering dumping nuclear waste into Cape Cod Bay

Holtec International has 1.1 million gallons of radioactive wastewater to get rid of.

Boston.com By Susannah Sudborough, September 28, 2022 ,

The company working to decommission the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth is still considering dumping radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay despite pushback from activists, lawmakers, and the EPA.

Holtec International has 1.1 million gallons of leftover wastewater from the plant, which closed in 2019, that it needs to get rid of.

NBC 10 Boston reported Tuesday that a representative from Holtec gave an update on the company’s plans at a town hall meeting Monday evening.

“When you do liquid discharges, it is diluted with seawater to non-detectable levels pretty quickly once it’s released, and doing it in small batches is actually the safest manner,” Holtec spokesman Patrick O’Brien told the news station.

But activists from Save Our Bay, a coalition of conservation groups, local leaders, and citizens who oppose the proposed dumping, say Holtec wants to dump the nuclear waste in Cape Cod Bay simply because it’s cheaper.

While O’Brien denied to NBC 10 Boston that dumping is the cheaper option, the group, which protested in Plymouth before the meeting Monday, says the waste will make the bay’s and local waters unsafe.

“The contaminated water will inevitably flow into Plymouth, Duxbury, and Kingston Bays. The bays are semi-enclosed, and circulation currents tend to keep the water in them. It [does] not quickly flush out and disperse in the ocean, but is likely to end up in the sediments at the bottoms of the bays or beaches,” the group wrote on its website.

​Additionally, Save Our Bay says, the nuclear waste could contaminate the fish, oysters, clams, and mussels that support the local aquaculture industry, making a major local product dangerous.

The loss of the local fishing and potentially tourism, due to contaminated waters would devastate the local economy, the group says.

Save Our Bays is not alone in opposing the proposed dumping. In January 2022, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, Rep. Bill Keating, and Rep. Seth Moulton sent a letter to Holtec stating their opposition.

Additionally, in July, the EPA wrote to the company saying it doesn’t think the company is allowed to dump the waste according to its permit.

According to The Boston Globe, Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules say Holtec can dump the water as long as its radioactivity is not above specified limits……………………….

A decision could come early next year, NBC 10 Boston reported. https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2022/09/28/pilgrim-power-plant-owner-considering-dumping-nuclear-waste-into-cape-cod-bay-holtec-international-plymouth/

September 27, 2022 Posted by | oceans, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Save the fish: Nuclear Free Local Authorities call for acoustic deterrent at Sizewell C

 https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/save-the-fish-nuclear-free-local-authorities-call-for-acoustic-deterrent-at-sizewell-c/ 28 Sept 22, The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have written to the Environment Agency calling for the developers of a new nuclear power plant at Sizewell C to be required to install an acoustic fish deterrent to save local fish stocks from destruction should the plant become operational.

The Environment Secretary George Eustace has recently decided that EDF Energy should be required to install a similar device at Hinkley Point C, a new nuclear plant currently being built on the Somerset coast, and as Sizewell C would be built to the same design the NFLA can see no reason why the same condition should not be applied to the Suffolk plant.

Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, has just written to the Environment Agency responding to a consultation over the permits that will be issued to EDF by the Environment Agency now that a Development Consent Order has been granted by a government minister.

Commenting he said: “We are still a very long way from Sizewell C becoming operational and it is far from a done deal. Most of the finance is not in place, there remains doubts about the safety and reliability of the proposed EDR reactor, EDF appears to be having cold feet given its financial position and poor operational performance at home, and local activists are looking to challenge the decision to go-ahead in the courts.

“I hope that the decision to grant approval can be successfully challenged in the courts or that EDF’s many troubles elsewhere may still kibosh the plan, but if somehow, despite the odds, this insane plan goes ahead it is important that we ensure that high standards are encapsulated in the conditions attached to the operation of Sizewell C to protect the natural environment and the people who live in adjoining communities – at least as far as is possible when your neighbour is a huge nuclear power plant.”

Although the NFLA submission to Environment Agency covers many points but two particular concerns are plans for long-term salination and the welfare of marine life.

Councillor Blackburn further explained: “We are grateful to Sizewell C for their advice on our response to this consultation; we completely share their concerns about the adverse impact of this plant on the lives of local people and the local environment. Our two key points in our response are that should EDF Energy look to desalination as a long-term solution to the lack of potable water that an extensive public consultation should take place prior to a decision on approval and that an acoustic fish deterrent should be installed at Sizewell C.

“The Environment Secretary has creditably recently upheld his inspector’s decision to require EDF Energy to install an Acoustic Fish Deterrent at Hinkley Point C. The EPR reactors proposed for Sizewell C will be the same as those proposed for Hinkley Point C. Both sites will be heavily reliant upon sucking in vast amounts of seawater to cool the plant, the impact on local sea life is likely to be similarly destructive. Accordingly, the NFLA believes that an acoustic fish deterrent, which projects sound waves to deter fish entering the plant, should be installed at Sizewell C as a condition of any permit issued by the Environment Agency giving the go ahead.”

September 27, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Continuing campaign to stop the dumping of Hinkley nuclear power station mud off Cardiff coast

Campaigners attempting to stop mud from the construction of Hinkley Point
Nuclear Power Station, Somerset, being dumped into Welsh waters, have
announced they are working with leading environmental lawyers Leigh Day to
block the proposals. In February EDF Energy applied to National Resources
Wales for a licence to dump 800,0000 tonnes of mud dredged as part of
building work for the new plant that is being built on the site of the
disused Hinkley Point A facility.

Two years ago, EDF were given permission
to dump 300,000 tonnes of mud from the site off the Cardiff coast, despite
protests and following a Senedd debate. A petition against the latest
proposals received over 10,000 signatures and has triggered a debate in the
Senedd tomorrow. Earlier this month EDF Energy confirmed it will carry out
an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of its licence application. This
agreement reverses NRW and Welsh Government’s previous position that an
EIA was not needed for the dumping they permitted in 2018 just 2.1 miles
off the South Wales coast and 2.5 miles from Cardiff. Leigh Day has now
written to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) requesting full disclosure of
documents on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)-screening
application from EDF and the agreement with NRW that “environmental
impact assessment is required”.

EDF are also facing a public inquiry over
a controversial fish management system that is being installed at the site
of the new facility. The Environment Agency granted a licence to EDF in
2013 that permitted sea water to be used for the nuclear power station’s
cooling system but required the deployment of a fish deterrent system on
the site to protect marine life in the estuary. Initially the operator
proposed the use of an acoustic deterrent system to reduce the number of
fish being killed by the cooling system but in 2017 abandoned the plans
without suggesting any alternative.

Currently the plant’s proposed Fish
Recovery and Return System will consist of a 5mm mesh barrier set up in the
water intake tunnel to stop large fish from being sucked in while another
channel will divert fish, dead or alive, back out to sea. Last year the
Sunday Times reported that marine and conservation groups estimated that
this system will kill 250,000 fish a day and called for it to be altered or
scrapped. EDF said the FRR will kills an estimated 650,00 fish a year.

Source: Nation Cymru 20th Oct 2020
https://nation.cymru/news/senedd-roundup-leading-environmental-lawyers-join-battle-to-block-mud-dump/

September 26, 2022 Posted by | oceans, politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

At U.N., Micronesia denounces Japan plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The president of the Pacific island state of Micronesia denounced at the United Nations on Thursday Japan’s decision to discharge what he called nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean………………… (subscribers only) more https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/un-micronesia-denounces-japan-plan-release-fukushima-water-into-pacific-2022-09-22/

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September 22, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Permit problems for Sizewell C nuclear project? Cooling system could kill millions of fish.

Permit problems for Sizewell C predicted after report confirms cooling
mechanisms can kill millions of fish. The Sizewell C nuclear reactor may
face obstacles in receiving an environmental permit after a report revealed
that the cooling mechanism at a similar development could kill millions of
fish.

ENDS 12th Sept 2022

https://www.endsreport.com/article/1798601/permit-problems-sizewell-c-predicted-report-confirms-cooling-mechanisms-kill-millions-fish

September 19, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

As Japan builds nuclear dumping facilities, Pacific groups say ‘stop’

 https://www.reuters.com/world/iran-seeks-stronger-us-guarantees-revival-2015-nuclear-deal-2022-08-31/ Pacific civil society groups are calling on Japan to halt its plans to dump radioactive nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this month the Japanese government started building facilities needed for the discharge of treated, but still radioactive, wastewater from the defunct Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In a joint statement, civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and activists described the Fumio Kishida Government’s plans as a fundamental breach of Pacific peoples’ right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Joey Tau from the pan-Pacific movement Youngsolwara Pacific said this breaches Pacific peoples’ rights to live in a clean environment.

Tau told Pacific Waves the Pacific Ocean is already endangered and Japan’s plan will have devastating impacts.

“We have a nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific. That continues to impact our people, our islands and our way of life, and it impacts the health of our people.

“Having this plan by Japan poses greater risks to the ocean which is already in a declining state.

“The health of our ocean has declined due to human endured stresses and having this could aggravate the current state of our region.

“And also, there are possible threats on the lives of our people as we clearly understand in this part of the world, the ocean is dear to us, it sustains us,” Tau said.

Tau said both the opposition in Vanuatu and the president of the Federated States of Micronesia have expressed serious concerns at Japan’s plans, and the Pacific Islands Secretariat this year has appointed an international expert panel to advise the Forum Secretary-General and national leaders.

The Northern Marianas’ House of Representatives has also condemned Japan’s plan to dump the nuclear waste.

Tau said the plans should not proceed without the Pacific people being able to voice their concerns and being better advised.

August 31, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Pacific Alliance of Municipal Councils starts Petition against dumping nuclear wastewater in Pacific

 https://www.mvariety.com/news/petition-against-dumping-nuclear-wastewater-in-pacific/article_5ad4f2f2-2103-11ed-ac27-6ffcaa93ec58.html Aug 22, 2022 , The Pacific Alliance of Municipal Councils or PAMC has started a petition on change.org (https://chng.it/JLT2btJQB6) to try and stop Japan from dumping its Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

PAMC  President and Secretary of the  Rota Municipal Council, Councilman Jim Atalig, expressed his strong opposition saying, “If it’s not good for their land, it is definitely not good for our ocean where most of us get our food on a daily basis!”

Chairman Joseph E. Santos, PAMC  member and chairman of the Tinian Municipal Council, says, “It is an outrage for anyone to think that it’s okay to dump their toxic wastes in our ocean when we rely on it for food, health activities, and economic sustainability.”

The other members of PAMC are Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council member Ana Demapan-Castro, Chairwoman, Antonia Tudela, member Daniel Aquino; Rota Municipal Council Chairman Jonovan Lizama, Vice Chairman William Taitano;  Tinian Municipal Council Vice Chairwoman  Thomasa P. Mendiola,  and Secretary Juanita M. Mendiola, who is also the vice president of PAMC.

PAMC is urging everyone to please circulate the petition through their Facebook page so we can prevail in preventing  Japan and any other countries from using our ocean as their toxic waste dumping ground!

“Nothing good will come out of this, just as the toll of human suffering  as a result of all nuclear energy fallouts were never worth their well-intended, but disastrously misguided, objectives!”

August 21, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

FOCUS: Respite for Japan as radioactive Fukushima water accumulation slows

 https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/08/d10f63c6bde0-focus-respite-for-japan-as-radioactive-water-accumulation-slows-in-fukushima.html By Takaki Tominaga, KYODO NEWS – Aug 12, 2022  Tanks containing treated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are likely to reach capacity around the fall of 2023, later than the initially predicted spring of next year, as the pace of the accumulation of radioactive water slowed in fiscal 2021

The slowdown, based on an estimate by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., gives some breathing space to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government if any roadblocks are thrown up in the plan to discharge the treated water into the sea starting around spring next year.

China and South Korea as well as local fishing communities that fear reputational damage to their products remain concerned and have expressed opposition to the plan.

About 1.30 million tons of treated water has accumulated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the 2011 nuclear disaster, and it is inching closer to the capacity of 1.37 million tons.

The water became contaminated after being pumped in to cool melted reactor fuel at the plant and has been accumulating at the complex, also mixing with rainwater and groundwater.

According to the plan, the water — treated through an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, that removes radionuclides except for tritium — will be released 1-kilometer off the Pacific coast of the plant through an underwater pipe.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been conducting safety reviews of the discharge plan and Director General Rafael Grossi says the U.N. nuclear watchdog will support Japan before, during and after the release of the water, based on science.

An IAEA task force, established last year, is made up of independent and highly regarded experts with diverse technical backgrounds from various countries including China and South Korea.

Japan’s new industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura says the government and TEPCO will go ahead with the discharge plan around the spring of 2023 and stresses the two parties will strengthen communication with local residents and fishermen, as well as neighboring countries, to win their understanding.

Beijing and Seoul are among the 12 countries and regions that still have restrictions on food imports from Japan imposed in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami triggered nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in March 2011.

“We will improve our communication methods so we can convey information backed by scientific evidence to people both at home and abroad more effectively,” Nishimura said after taking up the current post in a Cabinet reshuffle Wednesday.

Kishida instructed Nishimura to focus on the planned discharge of ALPS-treated water that will be diluted with seawater to one-40th of the maximum concentration of tritium permitted under Japanese regulations, according to the chief of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The level is lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum tritium limit for drinking water.

TEPCO will cap the total amount of tritium to be released into the sea as well.

Meanwhile, the Kishida government has decided to set up a 30 billion yen ($227 million) fund to support the fisheries industry and said it will buy seafood if demand dries up due to harmful rumors.

Fishing along the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, known for high-quality seafood, has been recovering from the reputational damage caused by the nuclear accident but the catch volume in 2021 was only about 5,000 tons, or about 20 percent of 2010 levels.

Construction of discharge facilities at the Fukushima plant started in August, while work to slow the infiltration of rain and groundwater was also conducted.

TEPCO said it was able to reduce the pace of accumulation of contaminated water by fixing the roof of a reactor building and cementing soil slopes around the facilities, among other measures, to prevent rainwater penetration.

The volume of radioactive water decreased some 20 tons a day from a year earlier to about 130 tons per day in fiscal 2021, according to the ministry.

The projected timeline to reach the tank capacity has been calculated based on the assumption that about 140 tons of contaminated water will be generated per day, according to METI.

However, storage tanks could still reach their capacity around the summer of next year if heavy precipitation or some unexpected events occur, the ministry said.

As part of preparations for the planned discharge, the Environment Ministry has started measuring tritium concentration at 30 locations on the surface of the sea and seabed around the Fukushima plant, four times a year.

Similarly, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has increased the number of locations it monitors tritium levels by eight to 20. The Fisheries Agency has started measuring tritium concentration in marine products caught along the Pacific coast stretching from Hokkaido to Chiba Prefecture.

Given that it is expected to take several decades to complete the release of treated water, NRA and METI officials urged TEPCO to further curb the generation of contaminated water at the plant.

“We want TEPCO to step up efforts so as to lower the volume of the daily generation of contaminated water to about 100 tons or lower by the end of 2025,” a METI official said.

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

China also discharges triated water from its nuclear power stations

Bob commented on Japan extremely selfish to insist on discharging nuclear wastewater into sea August 8, 2022 TOKYO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) has recently started …Neither you, nor China, whose official viewpoint this is, ever admits that China discharges tritiated water into the sea from its own nuclear plants and that the amount of this discharge exceeds that proposed for the ALPS treated tritiated water which has then been mixed with sea water before discharge (otherwise, the water will be so pure that its purity will poison sea life) on an annual basis.

They also deliberately omit the fact that the annual discharge rate will be less than that of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station during its 40 year operational lifetime. A much better assessment is discussed in this other recently posted article here https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/08/d10f63c6bde0-focus-respite-for-japan-as-radioactive-water-accumulation-slows-in-fukushima.html

August 14, 2022 Posted by | oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima water dumping plan triggers fresh anger from South Korea

As water-dumping moves advance, S. Koreans seek firm regional stance,  http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202208/09/WS62f1be52a310fd2b29e7119d.html By YANG HAN in Hong Kong |2022-08-09

Japan’s plan to dump radioactive wastewater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant will endanger the lives of people in the Asia-Pacific region, say experts who want to see stepped-up efforts against the ocean disposal from the countries most at risk.

South Koreans have been among those expressing their opposition to the plan, and voices have again been raised after Japan moved a step closer to implementing its planned discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water from next year, following the recent approval of the plan’s details by the nation’s nuclear regulator.

“The discharge of wastewater from Fukushima is an act of contaminating the Pacific Ocean as well as the sea area of South Korea,” said Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, an advocacy group in Seoul.

“Many people in South Korea believe that Japan’s discharge of the Fukushima wastewater is a wrong policy that threatens the safety of both the sea and humans,” Ahn told China Daily.

Last month, Japan’s nuclear regulator approved the plan to discharge wastewater into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, after it built up a huge amount of radiation-tainted water. The water has been collected and stored in tanks following efforts to cool down the reactors after an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011.

The dumping plan has drawn fierce opposition from government officials and civic groups in South Korea, one of the world’s major consumers of seafood.

On Aug 1, South Korea’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seunghwan said the government is considering whether to take the issue to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Yonhap News Agency reported. Cho said the government’s primary plan is to prevent Japan from releasing the contaminated water. “We do not accept the release plan”, he said.

Ahn said radioactive materials can generate long-term effects and it remains unclear how they will affect the marine ecosystem.

Though the South Korean government is considering taking the issue to the international tribunal, Ahn said it will be difficult to quantify the potential damage.

South Korea has said it will conduct a thorough analysis and revision of the impact of Japan’s plan, but the government has not received enough data from Japan to conduct such research, South Korea’s Hankyoreh newspaper reported in June.

After Japan’s nuclear regulator approved the Fukushima discharge plan, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Tokyo needs to transparently explain and gain consent from neighboring countries before releasing the contaminated water.

Potential impact

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, said the environmental group is concerned about the potential impact of the water’s release on the wider Asia-Pacific region.

The level of exposure depends on multiple variables including the concentration in seawater and how quickly it concentrates, disperses and dilutes, forms of life, and the type of radionuclide released and how that disperses or concentrates as it moves through the environment, Burnie said.

“The concentrations are of direct relevance to those who may consume them, including marine species like fish and, ultimately, humans,” Burnie told China Daily.

Noting that the Fukushima contaminated water issue comes under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as it is a form of pollution to international waters, Burnie said there are strong grounds for individual countries to file a legal challenge against Japan’s plan.

Ahn said joint expressions of opposition in the region could force the Japanese government to choose a safe method to deal with the wastewater instead of dumping it into the sea. China is also among the neighboring countries that have voiced opposition to the Fukushima discharge plan.

August 8, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Damage to marine life from seismic testing, and from dumping of radioactive waste.

 Concerns raised as the UK starts hunt for undersea nuclear waste disposal
sites. Animal welfare groups and campaigners blast ongoing surveys for
undersea nuclear waste dump. Officials have been warned about the potential
environmental impact of plans to dispose of radioactive nuclear waste
beneath the seabed off the north coast of England.

Yesterday, ELN reported
that the first marine geophysical surveys to determine suitable sites for
nuclear waste disposal started in the Irish sea near Cumbria. Nuclear Waste
Services (NWS), the developer of the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)
said it is “committed to environmental protection at all times”.


Richard Outram, Secretary of the campaign group Nuclear Free Local
Authorities, told ELN: “The Nuclear Free Local Authorities are opposed to
both the seismic testing and its purpose. “Our concerns regarding the
testing regime itself is that it necessitates the prolonged and repeated
sound blasting of the seabed of the Irish Sea every few seconds for a
period of several weeks whilst the ship patrols a search area of some 250
square kilometres and that this activity will be both disruptive and
harmful to marine life, some of which has protected status, both in the
area and for many miles around it.”

Mr Outram added that he was not
convinced that any nuclear waste dump facility, however well engineered,
could provide a ‘forever guarantee’ against a potential leakage
scenario.

Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme Manager Rob Deaville
from the Zoological Society of London said: “Many species of odontocetes
are sensitive to noise disturbance, given their primary sense is acoustic
in nature. “Generating impulsive noise, such as through seismic surveys,
can have a disturbance effect and may cause habitat avoidance and
potentially exclusion from an area. “Depending on how close animals are
to the source of impulsive noise, potential impacts can also include direct
physical effects ranging from temporary or permanent threshold shifts in
hearing to direct blast trauma and also the risk of decompression sickness
like conditions in some species that may ascend too rapidly to startle
responses.

“Finally, the area is a known habitat for many cetacean
species, ranging from coastal harbour porpoises to deeper diving Risso’s
dolphins. So, I would still have a concern about the seismic survey efforts
and our teams are very much on standby, in the event we receive increased
reports of live/dead strandings over this period.”

 Energy Live News 3rd Aug 2022
 https://www.energylivenews.com/2022/08/03/concerns-raised-as-the-uk-surveys-undersea-nuclear-waste-disposal-sites/

August 1, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment