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Fukushima fishermen worry about Japan’s plan of releasing nuclear wastewater 

December 25, 2021

People in Japan are strongly opposing and greatly concerned as the government moves forward with a plan to dump approximately 1.3 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the sea from the crippled Fukushima plant starting from the spring of 2023.

The fishery in Fukushima was heavily hit after the nuclear plant was destroyed. Dumping contaminated water into the sea will undoubtedly result in another strike on the local fishing industry. 

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-25/Fishermen-worry-about-Japan-s-plan-of-releasing-nuclear-wastewater-16hxdOBSfvy/index.html

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Their unheard voices: The fishermen of Fukushima

Mitsuhisa Kawase 20 December 2021

In April 2021, the Japanese government decided to discharge radioactive water stored inside the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO’s plan is to build a pipeline along the ocean bed and release diluted processed radioactive water 1 km off the coast of Fukushima. In November, Greenpeace conducted its 33rd Fukushima radiation survey since the nuclear disaster, during which we had the opportunity to interview local fisherman Mr. Haruo Ono. Mr. Ono opens up about the pain he feels, saying that discharging radioactive water into the ocean will throw Fukushima’s fishing industry back down into the abyss.

Greenpeace Japan has been regularly conducting radiation survey in the Fukushima Prefecture after the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011, and conducted its 33rd survey in November 2021. © Greenpeace

It has taken us 10 years to get to where we are

“How can such a thing be allowed to happen,” sighed Mr. Ono with a thick Fukushima accent. As he scanned the newspaper in his home, his eyes came to rest on an article and comments about the plan, announced by TEPCO the previous day, to discharge radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the ocean. “The ocean’s alive, too, you know!” The hand that gripped the newspaper turned white.  

Mr. Haruo Ono from Shinchi Town, Fukushima was born into a family of three generations of fishermen, and has helped out with the family business from as early as he can remember. Then in March 2011, everything fell apart. His town was badly hit by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake and then, to make matters even worse, vast amounts of radiation were released from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The fish they landed were found to contain radioactive substances, and fishermen were left with no choice but to voluntarily cease all fishing off the coast of Fukushima for approximately one year.

In June 2012, just over a year after the disaster, fishing trials were restarted and the sale of certain seafood, such as octopus and some shellfish was subsequently permitted. In February 2020, the ban was finally lifted for all seafood, and now Mr. Ono is permitted to go out to sea to fish up to ten times in a month. However, in April 2021, a month after the ten year anniversary of the disaster, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision to discharge radioactive water into the ocean.

Mr. Haruo Ono, who has lived half his life as a fisherman in Shinchi Town, Fukushima (November 2021) © Greenpeace

“Fish are finally starting to return after ten years, but if they now pour tritium into the water, no matter how much they dilute it, who’s going to buy those fish? Who wants to eat poisoned fish? ”

For a decade since the nuclear disaster, Mr. Ono has endured the frustration of not being able to fish freely, and the unfairness of having his catch overlooked simply because it’s from Fukushima. “So then why didn’t they discharge it into the sea ten years ago? That’s because it would have been wrong, right?” Unable to hold back any longer, his frustration poured out. 

Voices going unheard

After the decision was made to discharge the polluted water into the ocean, the government held a number of information sessions for the residents of Shinchi Town, which Mr. Ono attended. However, he says he still hasn’t received an answer as to why they are going to discharge the water into the ocean. 

“The person in charge arrives at 3:30, and the session is over at 5. There’s 30 minutes for questions. Out of the blue, they hand us a huge stack of documents, and they expect us to understand,” said Mr. Ono. “We have a right to ask questions, we have a right to know. If there is no option but to discharge the water into the ocean, then we want an acceptable answer about this decision.” 

TEPCO’s “Radiological Impact Assessment Regarding the Discharge of ALPS Treated Water into the Sea”1 that was released in November 2021, reflected exactly the same stance. “TEPCO is skilled at spinning the story. They make it seem as if we have accepted the decision. They are very good at manipulating the language, and on top of that, how many people are even going to actually read such a huge document”.

Fukushima’s fishing industry was severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and subsequent nuclear power disaster (Soma City, November 2021) © Greenpeace

Behind the enduring mistrust is a decade of repeated dishonesty by the government and TEPCO towards the local fishermen. Firstly, in 2015 TEPCO made a promise to the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations that it “would neither treat nor dispose of” the contaminated water stored inside the buildings, “in any way, without the understanding of those concerned”2. Furthermore, with reports that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water actually contained levels of radiation other than tritium, such as carbon-14, that exceeded permitted levels, they have repeatedly betrayed the trust of local residents and those involved in the local fisheries.

“Why do they have to put TEPCO first so much? Shouldn’t it be the victims, the local residents, who need protecting?” Mr. Ono protested. “Nobody has agreed to this. And then they go and make such a thoughtless decision regardless. The ocean is our place of work. Can you imagine what it feels like for that to be intentionally polluted?”

Responsibility to the future up in the air

As of 8 December 2021, there’s a total of approximately 1.285 million tonnes of radiation contaminated water stored in the tanks inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station3. During 2020, with groundwater flowing into the nuclear reactor buildings, and the cooling of fuel debris, the amount of water increased at a pace of approximately 140 tonnes a day4

According to TEPCO, the tanks will be full by spring 2023, hence their decision to discharge the polluted water into the ocean. However, a subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, set up in 2019, suggested that there is room to build more tanks within the plant5. “If we can continue to store the polluted water, then there’s no need to rush to a decision. Why are they rushing to make a decision, when we might find a better way to process the water in the future?”

TEPCO plans to eliminate radionuclides, other than tritium, to levels below regulatory standards, and dilute the tritium to 1/40 of permitted levels before discharging the water into the ocean. TEPCO says that the level of tritium discharged annually will not exceed 22 trillion becquerels per year – the maximum annual limit that was in place prior to the nuclear disaster – and that it will conduct regular reviews. 

10 years since the disaster, radioactive water inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant continues to increase (Namie Town, November 2021) © Greenpeace

However, whether you dilute the polluted water or employ new techniques to discharge it, the total amount of radiation released into the environment does not change. While the half-life of tritium might be 12 years, the half life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. As long as water is being discharged, radioactive material will continue to accumulate in the ocean.

“It’ll be 30 or 40 years before we see the effects. The causal relationship will have become unclear and it’ll be impossible to prove anything. What’s going to happen to the future of our children, our grandchildren? It’s not even clear who will take responsibility.”

The ocean is alive too

“It feels like – it’s our ocean, but it’s not our ocean”. This is something that Mr. Ono often said and seems to reflect the persistent sensation that things are moving forward without the people who have lived alongside the ocean for so long, the fishermen. 

The fishermen of Fukushima face a harsh reality. They are only allowed to go out fishing up to 10 times a month, and their monthly income comes to about 120,000 Yen (~940 Euro). The future is unclear, and their troubles just keep increasing. “Who would want to continue fishing in such an environment, who would want their children to become fishermen? If it goes on like this, there won’t be another generation of fishermen. Discharging the water into the ocean is the last straw.”

In response to the ocean discharge plan, the government and TEPCO have promised compensation and measures to counteract reputation damage, to local forestry and fishery businesses. However, this is beyond the point. “They’re focusing solely on things like mitigating damage to the reputation of local produce, or promises to buy our fish, but that’s not what’s important. We’re not catching fish so that they can be thrown away. We want to catch them so that people can eat and enjoy them,” he says with a sigh. 

On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Greenpeace Japan activists hold up a banner saying “Stand with Fukushima” in front of the national Diet (Parliament) building, calling for the Japanese government to shift to a renewable energy future. A decade has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake that brought about the triple meltdown and evacuation of 160,000 people. The earthquake and tsunami led to the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The overheated reactors melted down, causing a steam explosion that followed with a large amount of radioactive materials scattering around.

“Firstly, why is it not okay to release radiation on land, but okay to put it in the ocean? You’ve got the mountains and the water from the rivers flowing into the sea, plankton grows, small fish eat the plankton and bigger fish eat the smaller fish. That’s the cycle. Polluting it is easy, but once you’ve polluted you can’t go back to how it was. The ocean is alive too, you know.”

The ocean that Mr. Ono is trying to protect is the same ocean that took away his brother’s life ten years ago, in the tsunami. “The ocean can kill, but it can also give life. If we don’t protect it, who will? The fish don’t have a voice.”

“The ocean is alive too. And we’re citizens of this country, too, you know. I’m begging, somebody, please listen to us.”

Currently, at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station, preparations are underway to discharge the polluted water into the ocean in spring 2023. This is going to destroy the livelihoods and dignity of Fukushima’s fishermen, and their heartbreaking pleas have yet reached the government or TEPCO, who are focused only on maintaining the superficial appearance of “recovery”.

1Radiological Impact Assessment Regarding the Discharge of ALPS Treated Water into the Sea (Design stage) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

2TEPCO https://www.tepco.co.jp/news/2015/images/150825a.pdf (Japanese only)

3TEPCO Treated Water Portal Site

4TEPCO How much contaminated water is being generated

5METI The Subcommittee on Handling ALPS Treated Water

Mitsuhisa Kawase is Senior Communication Officer at Greenpeace Japan.

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishers and farmers fear impact of Fukushima water release

Storage tanks holding water contaminated with radioactive tritium at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2019

October 30, 2020

Fishermen and farmers in Fukushima Prefecture have voiced concern about the risk of further harmful rumors about produce from the area if the government allows Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco), the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to release water contaminated with radioactive tritium into the Pacific Ocean.

The government is in the final stages of giving the green light to release the radioactive water accumulating at the plant into the sea.

Nearly 10 years after the triple meltdowns at the nuclear power plant in March 2011, prices for agricultural and fisheries products from the prefecture haven’t fully recovered.

Some producers are still struggling to get retailers to buy their produce. They are concerned that if the government cannot set out detailed measures to tackle the reputational damage, they will need to start all over again from scratch.

“It’s unprecedented, and it’s hard to predict how much and how long it will last,” said deputy trade minister Kiyoshi Ejima, who heads a government task force on nuclear disasters, in an interview, regarding the harmful rumors. “We can’t offer a comprehensive (aid) package at this point of time.”

The government is expected to offer measures of support for the farm and fisheries industries, conduct public information campaigns based on science and compensate for damages as a result of releasing the water into the sea.

But it appears the government has not set out a detailed approach for how it plans to tackle any reputational damage caused by the release.

Since the 2011 disaster, the prefecture’s fisheries cooperative has only been able to conduct experimental fishing on limited days, with restrictions on the areas fished.

It is planning to move to full-scale fishing in April, with all 43 types of fish approved to be shipped.

“What we have been working on will be all for nothing,” said Toshimi Suzuki, 67, who belongs to a cooperative for sea urchin and abalone fishing in the city of Iwaki that is urging the government to decide against releasing the tritium-laced water into the sea. “I want them to listen to the voices of fishermen who are still struggling due to harmful rumors before deciding what measures to take.”

Farmers are also worried.

“If the waters are released when people at home and abroad aren’t adequately informed that it’s safe, based on science, harmful rumors will spread again,” said Yasuaki Kato, 44, a farmer who produces rice and apples.

When Kato worked to promote the safety of Fukushima-made produce in Tokyo, he felt it was extremely difficult to gain the understanding of people from outside Fukushima Prefecture.

“If people don’t understand the safety of the produce and how it has been made, it won’t have a price tag equivalent to what it’s worth,” Kato said.

In northern Fukushima Prefecture, fruit farmers were hit by heavy rain last year, after Typhoon Hagibis swept through the region, and were significantly affected by plant disease this year. Koji Suzuki, 69, who harvests peaches and persimmons in the town of Kunimi, says he was only able to harvest about 40% of his fruit compared to normal years.

He is afraid prices that plummeted after the meltdowns will once again drop.

“I want (the government) to propose measures on what it will do when consumers avoid produce from Fukushima,” Suzuki said.

This section features topics and issues covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the prefecture’s largest newspaper. The original article was published Oct. 21.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/30/national/fishers-farmers-fukushima-radioactive-water/

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations’ head opposes releasing Fukushima Daiichi radioactive water into sea

Hiroshi Kishi, the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, speaks at a government hearing in Tokyo on Thursday.

Fishing industry chief opposes releasing Fukushima No. 1 water into sea

Oct 9, 2020

The head of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, or Zengyoren, has voiced strong opposition against releasing treated water containing radioactive tritium from the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the sea.

“We are absolutely against ocean release” as a way to dispose of tainted water at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Hiroshi Kishi, head of Zengyoren, said Thursday at a government hearing in Tokyo.

Kishi said that fishermen who are operating along the coast of Fukushima have been suffering from problems caused by the radioactive fallout from the 2011 meltdowns at the plant, such as fishing restrictions, as well as malicious rumors about the safety of farm and marine products there.

If the government chooses to release radioactive water into the sea, a leading option to get rid of accumulating low-level radioactive water at the plant, it will trash all efforts fishermen have so far made to sweep away such rumors and consequently “will have a devastating impact on the future of Japan’s fishing industry,” Kishi stressed.

Toshihito Ono, head of the prefecture’s fishery product processors association, who joined the hearing via a video call, warned that Fukushima’s processed marine products, including products that use ingredients from other prefectures, will become targets of harmful rumors.

In a report released in February, a government panel pointed out that a realistic option would be releasing the tainted water into the ocean after dilution or into the air through evaporation.

Many people fear that both methods will add to the reputational damage suffered by Fukushima products. But treated water storage at the power plant is expected to reach full capacity as early as autumn 2022.

After the hearing, state industry minister Kiyoshi Ejima told reporters, “We find it unadvisable to put off a decision on how to dispose of the water because not much room is left at the plant for tanks containing the water.”

This was probably the last hearing on the water issue, people familiar with the matter said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/09/national/zengyoren-fukushima-water-sea/

Hiroshi Kishi, chairman of Japan’s national federation of fisheries cooperatives, JF Zengyoren, expresses his opposition to the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea, in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on Oct. 8, 2020.

Japan’s fishing industry firmly opposes release of tainted Fukushima water at sea

October 9, 2020

TOKYO — Japanese fishing industry representatives on Oct. 8 expressed their resolute opposition to the planned release of radioactively contaminated water that has built up following the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea, saying it would create damaging rumors and could negatively affect the industry into the future.

The comments came in a government hearing with Japan’s national federation of fisheries cooperatives, JF Zengyoren, and other representatives over the handling of the contaminated water and whether to dump it into the sea.

“Damaging rumors would inevitably occur, and the consensus of those in the fishing industry is that we are absolutely opposed to releasing it at sea,” JF Zengyoren Chairman Hiroshi Kishi stated at the meeting.

The hearing is expected to be the last scheduled gathering in a series of meetings that have been held since April. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has stated that he wants to decide on a policy for dealing with the contaminated water as soon as possible, and the government is set to reach a decision based on opinions heard to date.

At the meeting, Kishi warned that if the contaminated water from the nuclear plant were released into the sea “all the efforts of fishing industry workers to date would come to nothing.” He added, “It would be a setback and letdown for those in the fishing industry and could have a devastating impact into the future.” He said that he had heard from the government about measures to prevent damaging rumors, but stated, “Not releasing it (contaminated water) into the sea is simply the best approach.”

A seafood processing federation from Fukushima Prefecture was among the bodies represented at the meeting. Federation head Toshihito Ono commented, “I’ve worked on the front lines with regard to damage from rumors following the nuclear plant accident for nine years. Even when the fish are caught outside the prefecture, if the processing firm is in Fukushima then they’ll be stigmatized.”

After the meeting, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kiyoshi Ejima commented, “We’ve heard opinions from 43 people to date. We’d like to sort them out as soon as possible and reach a conclusion with governmental responsibility.”

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations and the national consumers federation Shodanren earlier expressed opposition to the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant at sea. The association of inns and hotels of Fukushima Prefecture, meanwhile, has expressed understanding of the move, as has the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has taken the position that the issue should be given careful consideration, while the head of the Fukushima Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry said the water should be dealt with quickly and rumors dispelled, and that the central government should process the water responsibly.

(Japanese original by Suzuko Araki, Science & Environment News Department)

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201009/p2a/00m/0na/039000c

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan fishermen oppose Fukushima Daiichi’s radioactive water release into ocean

A Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) employee uses a geiger counter at the company’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan fishermen oppose ‘catastrophic’ release of Fukushima water to ocean

October 8, 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese fish industry representatives on Thursday urged the government not to allow the release at sea of tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, saying it would undo years of work to restore their reputation.

Tokyo Electric has collected more than a million tonnes of contaminated water since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The water is stored in huge tanks that crowd the site and it says it will run out of storage room by 2022.

“We are dead against a release of contaminated water to the ocean as it could have a catastrophic impact on the future of Japan’s fishing industry,” Hiroshi Kishi, president of JF Zengyoren, told a meeting with government officials.

JF Zengyoren is a nationwide federation of Japan’s fisheries cooperatives.

Early this year, a panel of experts advising Japan’s government on the disposal of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima plant, recommended releasing it into the ocean.

Japan’s industry ministry, which has been hearing views since April, invited fishery representatives to a seventh round of such hearings.

“We vigorously oppose a release of contaminated water into the ocean as it will clearly cause reputational damage,” said Toshihito Ono, the head of fish wholesalers and processors in Fukushima prefecture.

Any release could prompt other countries to reinforce restrictions on imports of Japanese fishery products, reversing a recent trend toward easing, JF Zengyoren’s Kishi said.

Both representatives did not put forward alternatives, but Kishi asked the government to consider further and get as much information as possible before making its decision.

Kiyoshi Ejima, state minister of economy, trade and industry, said the government would take their views into account and make a responsible decision.

“We need to make a decision as soon as possible since this is a top priority issue,” he told reporters after the meeting, but gave no timeframe.

https://news.yahoo.com/japan-fishermen-oppose-catastrophic-release-111310587.html

Fisheries oppose plan to release radioactive water

Oct. 8, 2020

A nationwide group of Japanese fisheries has opposed releasing diluted radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea.

The group’s president, Kishi Hiroshi, spoke at the 7th government hearing in Tokyo on Thursday.

At issue is the ever-increasing amount of wastewater stockpiled in tanks at the Fukushima plant. The water, after treatment, still contains tritium and some other radioactive substances.

The government has been seeking feedback from locals and relevant groups over a report compiled in February that said diluting the water to below government-set levels and releasing it into the sea or air is a realistic option.

Kishi said releasing the water into the sea will inevitably cause detrimental rumors, undoing years of efforts by fisheries and dealing a devastating blow to the nation’s fishing industry. Kishi said he is absolutely opposed to the plan.

Ono Toshihito, head of a seafood processing federation in Fukushima Prefecture, said he and his colleagues have toiled on the frontline of fighting rumors for nine years.

Ono said he is opposed to the plan, but at the same time he knows something needs to be done about the water. He said he has been in a dilemma because he also wants the crippled reactors dismantled as soon as possible.

Ono called on the government to expedite its efforts to enable people to return to normal economic activity.

Government officials say they hope to make a decision as soon as possible over how to deal with the water.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20201008_34/

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Video Testimonies from Fukushima in 7 Languages: “We want to protect the ocean of Fukushima, for the future of the fishing industry”

 

July 11, 2020

Peace Boat has cooperated with the environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Japan (FoE Japan) to launch the next in their series of video testimonies of the current situation in Fukushima in various languages.

Nine years have passed since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster, and the damage continues to be incurred. Although this disaster is still ongoing, efforts are made to render this invisible. FoE Japan has conducted video interviews with evacuees, dairy farmers, fishermen and other community members in order to make the ongoing impacts more known as part of the “Fukushima Mieruka Project.”

The next multilingual installment in this series includes interviews with fishermen from Fukushima, who have been pushed back and forth by the policies of the Japanese Government and TEPCO, and who hold great concerns for their future. These are being released simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean and German, as well as Japanese.

The fishermen interviewed told us that they are still struggling to sell their fish due to the impacts of the nuclear accident. They are working to restore confidence step by step, by conducting efforts such as test operations and radiation monitoring themselves. However, the Japanese Government and TEPCO have launched a plan to discharge large amounts of radioactive contaminated materials generated at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, including tritium, into the ocean.
“From now, our worry is the problems for successors. If an unexpected fish is found in the future, the young generation will really suffer, those in the fishing industry. Really. It’s a life-or-death matter.”

Please listen to the voices of concern and anger of the Fukushima fishermen (12mins 31 sec).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSVu_52u7z8&feature=emb_logo

Click on the name of each language to watch the clip on Youtube:

See here for a Q&A of more information on Japanese government plans to release contaminated water into the ocean here.

Sign the petition demanding that contaminated water being stored at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station NOT be discharged into the sea, and instead stored on land and solidified via change.org here

https://peaceboat.org/english/news/fukushima-fishermen

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima fishermen fight release of tainted water as tritium standoff continues

fukushimawatertanks.jpg

 

On Feb. 25, against a clear sky, fishing boats bearing colorful banners used to signal a rich haul returned to their home port of Ukedo in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture. Cheers erupted as the boats, which had taken refuge in Minamisoma in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear crisis, made their way home for the first time in six years.

The Soma-Futaba fishing cooperative will soon resume fishing for konago (young lancefish), after the heads of fishing co-ops in the prefecture approved the start of experimental fishing operations 10 to 20 km from the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

Despite the steady recovery moves, however, local fishermen are not optimistic because their industry still faces “concern” that radioactive fish could tarnish their reputation.

Fukushima No. 1 currently has 950,000 tons of radioactive water in storage that has been desalinated and filtered to remove some of the radioactive elements, but the volume is increasing at a pace of 150,000 tons a year.

Of the 950,000 tons, 750,000 were further treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System, to remove most of the remaining isotopes. But even ALPS cannot remove tritium, and this has the fishing industry concerned that water tainted with tritium could ultimately be released into the ocean.

The debate over what to do about the tainted water has turned into a standoff. The central government set up a committee in September to discuss disposal and studied five options, including ocean release, underground burial and air release. But the committee could not agree on any of them because all had the potential to damage the reputation of Fukushima’s seafood.

Hiroshige Seko, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has jurisdiction over the issue but appears reluctant to bring the debate to a rapid conclusion.

We have not decided on the schedule, including when to conclude (the debate),” he said in a recent interview with the Fukushima Minpo.

Tritium is a common byproduct of normal nuclear power plant operations. Its release into the ocean is permitted worldwide as long as the concentration doesn’t exceed certain levels. In Japan, the legal threshold for tritium release is 60,000 becquerels per 1 liter.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has said “there is no solution than ocean release” for the tritium generated at Fukushima No. 1, noting that if the concentration is within legal limits, the government should go ahead with the release. Officials at related international institutions have expressed similar views.

But the prefectural association of fishing cooperatives remains opposed, worried that an ocean release could further damage the image of Fukushima’s fish and seafood.

A fisherman from Onahama in the city of Iwaki said, “The move could lead to a loss of trust in the prefecture’s seafood, which the fishermen have worked hard to build.”

On the other hand, if the disposal debate goes unresolved, the amount of tainted water at Fukushima No. 1 will continue to rise and delay the decommissioning of the plant.

Tepco has said it “will decide (on the fate of the water) in a responsible manner by watching the government debate and weighing the opinions of local residents.”

The fishery industry is watching how the central government balances the two jobs of revitalizing the industry and handling tritium-tainted water — and how it can thoroughly explain the decision in ways people both in Japan and abroad can understand, without leaving it entirely up to Tepco.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/19/national/fukushima-fishermen-fight-release-tainted-water-tritium-standoff-continues/#.WM7nfKKmnIU

6331_5cc4bb753030a3d804351b2dfec0d8b5.jpg

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017, Fukushima continuing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agreement reached on decontaminated water disposal

Fishers in Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Fukushima have formally allowed the release of decontaminated groundwater from around buildings of nuclear reactors into the sea.

The release is aimed at reducing production of heavily contaminated water in the basements of the buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Groundwater flowing into the buildings is producing 300 tons of highly radioactive water daily, resulting in a huge number of storage tanks at the plant.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, and the government have been asking the fishers to allow the release to keep the water from flowing into the buildings and becoming heavily tainted.

TEPCO plans to use 41 wells already dug around the buildings to pump up the water and lower the levels of radioactive substances to between one-one-thousandth and one-ten-thousandth of their original amounts before releasing it.

The operator, the government and an independent institution plan to check so that only water below allowed levels is discharged.

On Tuesday, the local federation of fisheries cooperatives approved the plan on condition that the release rules are strictly followed and that compensation is paid for any damage due to harmful rumors.

Federation chairman Tetsu Nozaki said the approval was decided unanimously, but that some members were dissatisfied. He added that the plan is needed for steadily decommissioning the plant, and that he wants TEPCO and the government to keep their word.

The firm’s Fukushima headquarters chief Yoshiyuki Ishizaki said the plan is a big step forward in the decommissioning process as well as tackling the problem of contaminated water. He said fishermen told him that the plan could lead to rebuilding of Fukushima’s fishing industry, and that he will keep their remarks in mind.

TEPCO plans to start releasing the water soon.

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150825_33.html

 

Fishermen OK TEPCO’s plan to dump Fukushima plant water into sea

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture approved on Tuesday a plan by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pump up contaminated groundwater continuously flowing into the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station and dump it into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.

The plan is one of TEPCO’s key measures aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Local fishermen had long opposed the plan amid concern over pollution of the ocean and marine products.

“I don’t know if it’s acceptable for all fishery operators, but stable work of decommissioning (of the Fukushima plant) is necessary for the revival of Fukushima’s fishery industry,” Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, told reporters after a board meeting.

He also called on TEPCO to make sure it will only discharge water which does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowable limit.

The amount of toxic water is piling up every day, as untainted groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

By pumping up water through drainage wells and dumping it into the ocean after treatment, TEPCO said it will be able to halve some 300 tons of contaminated water being generated each day.

In exchange for approving the plan, the Fukushima fisherman’s association demanded on Aug. 11 that the government and TEPCO continue paying compensation for the fishermen as long as the nuclear plant causes damage to their business, among other requirements.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations also gave the green light for the release of treated water into the sea.

TEPCO has been struggling to resolve the problem of toxic water buildup at the plant for more than four years after the nuclear crisis, with radiation leakages into the environment still occurring regularly at the complex.

The company is also behind schedule on a project to build a huge underground ice wall, another key measure to prevent radioactive water from further increasing at the site.

Source: Mainichi

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150825p2g00m0dm075000c.html

August 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Fishermen OK Tepco’s plan to dump Fukushima plant water into sea

FUKUSHIMA – Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture on Tuesday approved a plan by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to take contaminated groundwater continuously flowing into the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and dump it into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.

The plan is one of Tepco’s key measures aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Local fishermen had long opposed the plan amid concern it would pollute the ocean and contaminate marine life.

“I don’t know if it’s acceptable for all fishery operators, but stable work of decommissioning (of the Fukushima plant) is necessary for the revival of Fukushima’s fishery industry,” Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, told reporters after a board meeting.

He also called on Tepco to ensure it will only discharge water which does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowed limit.

The amount of toxic water is piling up every day. Tainted groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive water generated through cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

By pumping up water through drainage wells and dumping it into the ocean after treatment, Tepco said it will be able to halve some 300 tons of contaminated water being generated each day.

In exchange for approving the plan, the Fukushima fisherman’s association on Aug. 11 demanded among other things that the government and Tepco continue paying the fishermen compensation for as long as the nuclear plant damages their business.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations also gave the green light to releasing the treated water into the sea.

Tepco has been struggling to resolve the problem of toxic water buildup at the plant since 2011, with radiation leakages into the environment still occurring regularly at the Fukushima complex.

The company is also behind schedule on a project to build a huge underground ice wall, another key measure to prevent radioactive water from further increasing at the site.

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/25/national/fishermen-ok-tepcos-plan-dump-fukushima-plant-water-sea/#.VdyK0ZeFSM9

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment