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Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”


greenpeace_2.jpgGreenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident.


September 10, 2019
The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.
“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga disputed Harada’s claim, saying the government has not settled on a method of disposing of the wastewater. Other options include vaporizing the water and storing it on land.
But critics on social media said the suggestion of pouring contaminated water into the Pacific is more than enough evidence that the risks associated with nuclear power are too great to continue running plants like Fukushima.
The wastewater has been stored in tanks at Fukushima since the 2011 tsunami, when a meltdown at the plant forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
For years since the disaster, the plant has pumped tens of thousands of tons of water to help cool its damaged reactor cores and keep them from melting. After the water is used and contaminated with radionuclides and radioactive isotopes, it is stored in the tanks, but the plant expects to run out of room in 2022. 
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan said recently that it could take 17 years for water to meet safety standards after it is diluted.
Greenpeace, which has long called on the Japanese government to invest in technology to remove radioactivity from the water, said the environmental minister’s proposal is unacceptable.
“The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium,” Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist the group’s German office, told France 24.
The government of neighboring South Korea expressed grave concerns over the potential plan to dump the water into the Pacific, saying it planned to work closely with Japan to come up with an alternative.
“The South Korean government is well aware of the impact of the treatment of the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the health and safety of the people of both countries, and to the entire nation,” the government said.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

“Amid invisible terror, we were witnesses”

From Mari Inoue
I would like to share a poem of Fukushima nuclear disaster by Arata MAEDA, which was published on July 18, 2011 in “Shimbun Noumin”, family farmers’ newspaper in Japan.
“Amid invisible terror, we were witnesses”
by Arata MAEDA*
(Tanslated into English by Andrew E. Barshay)**
Assaulted by an invisible terror
Even now, after four months
We remain driven from our own birthplace, our hometown
At Level 7, with no change in the situation at all
Tens of thousands of livestock, starved to death, all of them
In the deserted villages, only the stink from their corpses
Rises into the air
Across the mountains and rivers of our home country,
Stolen away by something that will not show itself,
The seasons change, as if nothing at all had happened
There where the cuckoo cries, can it be only in our dreams
That we toil and sweat?
There, where we cannot even set foot!
Once it was by our country’s policy that we were driven to Manchuria
By our country’s defeat to commit suicide together
And abandoning our little ones, to escape back home
And now as then, this home of ours
Is smashed to bits as our country’s grand plans collapse in ruin
And this time, it’s a painless death that takes its time in coming
Yet just as on that day, isn’t it collective suicide all over again?
Isn’t it the live experiments of Unit 731 all over again?
Friends, friends, we can’t just stand here grieving and crying
Over these four months, amid invisible terror
What we have seen with our own eyes
Is the true face of terror that says: no matter
For pro it’s sake, the reactors must stay on
All right then! If that’s how it is
We’re ready to take them on, for the sake of our children and theirs
Just like the Kwantung Army before them, these bastards
hid the facts and were the irst to run from danger
And now they put on an innocent face and prattle about safety and reconstruction
No way will we let them take these lives so easily!
Oh, but friends, my friends are dead
*MAEDA Arata: member of Fukushima Farmers’ Alliance, resident of Aizumisato, Fukushima Prefecture
**Andrew E.BARSHAY: Professor, University of California at Berkeley
(The name of “friend” mentioned at the end of the poem is Hisashi Tarukawa who was an organic farmer and a member of the Japan Family Farmers Movement living in Sukagawa, Fukushima. He had devoted himself to growing organic cabbages. On March 23, 2011, he received a fax from the Fukushima local government, which requested him to forbear the shipping of cabbages contaminated by radioactivity. The next day he committed suicide by hanging himself in despair at losing his whole future.)

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Minister says Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific


Fukushima: Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific, minister says

More than a million tonnes of contaminated water lies in storage but power company says it will run out of space by 2022

The operator of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will have to dump huge quantities of contaminated water from the site directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister has said – a move that would enrage local fishermen.

More than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the plant since it was struck by a tsunami in March 2011, triggering a triple meltdown that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has struggled to deal with the buildup of groundwater, which becomes contaminated when it mixes with water used to prevent the three damaged reactor cores from melting.

Tepco has attempted to remove most radionuclides from the excess water, but the technology does not exist to rid the water of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump water that contains tritium into the ocean. It occurs in minute amounts in nature.

Tepco admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.

Currently, more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water is held in almost 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, but the utility has warned that it will run out of tank space by the summer of 2022.

The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada told a news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”

No decision on how to dispose of the water will be made until the government has received a report from a panel of experts. Other options include vaporising the liquid or storing it on land for an extended period.

Harada did not say how much water would need to be discharged into the ocean.

One recent study by Hiroshi Miyano, who heads a committee studying the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, said it could take 17 years to discharge the treated water after it has been diluted to reduce radioactive substances to levels that meet the plant’s safety standards.

Any decision to dispose of the waste water into the sea would anger local fishermen, who have spent the past eight years rebuilding their industry.

Nearby South Korea has also voiced concern over the impact it would have on the reputation of its own seafood.

Last month, Seoul summoned a senior Japanese embassy official to explain how Fukushima Daiichi’s waste water would be dealt with.

Ties between the north-east Asian nations are already at a low ebb following a compensation dispute over Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during the second world war.

The government spent 34.5bn yen (£260m) to build a frozen underground wall to prevent groundwater reaching the three damaged reactor buildings. The wall, however, has succeeded only in reducing the flow of groundwater from about 500 tonnes a day to about 100 tonnes a day.

Japan has come under renewed pressure to address the contaminated water problem before Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics next summer.

Six years ago during the city’s bid for the games, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, assured the international community that the situation was “under control”.

Minister calls for dumping Fukushima plant treated water into ocean

September 10, 2019

Japan’s environment minister called Tuesday for water contaminated with low-toxicity radioactive tritium at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to be discharged into the Pacific Ocean, potentially provoking controversy with South Korea that has expressed concerns about the idea.

“Although I’m not the minister in charge, I believe there’s no choice but to dump the water (into the ocean) and dilute it,” Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada told a press conference, a day before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned Cabinet reshuffle.

Even after being treated, the water, used to cool reactor cores that suffered meltdowns at the plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, remains contaminated with tritium.

But the water, currently stored in tanks at the Fukushima plant, is regarded by the government as relatively harmless to humans.

Seoul has expressed concern over the possibility that the water could be discharged into the ocean. Local fishermen are also opposed to the release of the water into the sea, fearing the potential impact on fish stocks.

The Japanese government has yet to decide on how to dispose of the accumulating water. The tanks storing the water are expected to be full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima plant.

A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”

Harada said his view was based on a visit to the Fukushima complex, where he saw a number of tanks storing the water, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s support for the water discharge.

In an apparent reference to South Korea, Harada added the most important thing for Japan is to “provide sincere explanations” to countries that may oppose Tokyo’s policy.

The environment minister made the remarks as he looked back on his time in the post since October last year.

In August, a government panel began discussing the possibility of long-term water storage. It has looked at other options such as discharging it into the sea and vaporization.

Toxic water produced by cooling debris and other processes at the Fukushima plant is purified using the Advanced Liquid Processing System, said to be capable of removing almost all radioactive materials except tritium.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Officials Still Unsure What to Do With Radioactive Fukushima Water

September 7, 2019
The Japanese government told diplomats on Wednesday they had not yet decided what to do with the roughly 1 million tons of radioactive water being stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A toxic mix of groundwater and rainwater exposed to the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi in eastern Japan has presented Japanese officials with a disposal problem for years. More than 1 million tons of contaminated water are now stored in more than 1,000 storage tanks around the site, in various stages of decontamination.
However, the clock is ticking: Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says it is due to hit maximum capacity by 2022, and what will be 1.37 million tons of water by then will need to be disposed of or properly treated to be made safer.
“With transparency in mind, Japan will continue providing the international community with information (on the Fukushima situation),” Koichiro Matsumoto, the Foreign Ministry’s director of international cooperation, told 27 diplomats representing 22 countries and regions on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Seoul raised the issue last month during a larger trade spat with Tokyo, with the South Korean Foreign Ministry saying, “If it’s deemed necessary, we will … closely cooperate with our neighbors in the Pacific … to actively cope with the problem of the discharge of contaminated water,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
When the most powerful earthquake in Japanese history struck offshore of the city of Sendai in March 2011, it produced a huge tsunami that washed miles inland, killing tens of thousands of people. It also damaged the ostensibly-tsunami-proof Fukushima plant, causing three of its reactors to melt down after they overheated. While the situation was brought under control, the huge problem of radioactive cleanup remains, as does the continued growth of radioactive water at the site.
Various proposals have been floated for disposal, including injecting the water deep underground or dumping the partially treated water into the Pacific Ocean.
“It will have a devastating effect on fishing in Fukushima,” Tetsu Nozaki, who heads the Fukushima prefectural federation of fisheries cooperative associations, told the Asahi Shimbun about dumping the water into the Pacific in March. Fishermen returned to the waters near Sendai in 2017, but their catch is still only 20% of pre-earthquake levels, the Asahi noted.
Tokyo has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) stemming the exposure of groundwater to the reactors with a massive earthen wall, but the site continues to accumulate roughly 100 tons of contaminated water per day, the Asahi noted.
The government was forced to admit last year that treatment had not proceeded as planned; nuclear plants typically treat their waste water to eliminate all radioactive elements except tritium, because tritium is both relatively harmless and also plentiful in the environment already.
Reprocessing all the water at Fukushima could take two years and would result in further delays to the enormous project of dismantling the wrecked reactors – which could take 40 years and cost up to 21.5 trillion yen ($192.5 billion), or roughly one-fifth of the Japanese government’s annual budget.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

To Prevent Polluted Water from Being Discharged into Sea Korea Pushing for International Cooperation in Handling Fukushima Water

Why South Korean government is the only one complaining? How about the other countries who will be also affected by the Fukushima Daiichi radioactive water dumping: China, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. ? Why are they silent?
The Korean government is seeking international cooperation to prevent the Japanese government from discharging the contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
September 6, 2019
The Korean government has decided to promote international cooperation to cope with the possibility of the Japanese government discharging contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The Seoul government is moving to raise the international community’s awareness of the danger of discharging the polluted water from the ill-fated power plant in Fukushima.
The Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission of Korea said that they sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requesting international cooperation for the treatment of the contaminated water at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The letter contained concerns over the possibility of the contaminated water being discharged into the sea. It also included a request that the IAEA play an active role in this matter with international organizations and interested parties.
In addition, Moon Mi-ok, first vice science and ICT minister of Korea and Um Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission will attend the IAEA General Assembly in Vienna on Sept. 16 to bring the issue to the attention of member countries and make it a hot topic for discussion. Moon will also deliver a keynote speech at the general assembly to warn of the dangers of the contaminated water.
“We will continue to request the international community to ensure that the Japanese government finds a legitimate and optimized method for treating the contaminated water safely without giving burden to future generations,” said Choi Won-ho, director general of public research at the Minister of Science and ICT.
Earlier, the Japanese government said through its embassy in Seoul that the IAEA has confirmed that the concentration of radioactive materials did not rise in seawater around Japan. It said contaminated groundwater has not been released to a level that affect public safety.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

North Korea lambasts Japan over Fukushima

Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant stores more than 1 million tons of contaminated water.
September 4, 2019
Sept. 4 (UPI) — North Korea slammed a Japanese plan to discharge highly radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, calling the plan a recipe for an “outrageous nuclear disaster.”
Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Wednesday the controversial plan, which could be being reviewed in Tokyo, is an “anti-humanitarian act” that needs to be rescinded immediately.
Japan’s original plan was to release into the Pacific Ocean some of the 1.09 million tons of highly radioactive water from Fukushima. Last month, Greenpeace condemned Tokyo for the plan, calling it “motivated by short-term cost-cutting,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Pyongyang said Wednesday the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was being selfish and putting neighboring countries at risk.
“More than a few countries operate nuclear power stations, but only one country, Japan, would threaten the survival of other nations and people by carelessly throwing away radioactive water into the sea for national profit,” the Rodong said.
North Korea also claimed people on the Korean Peninsula would suffer the most damage.
“The island nation gang [Japan] that brought our people unparalleled misery and suffering are now trying to cover up their nuclear disaster with radioactive pollution,” the Rodong said, adding Japan should immediate withdraw plans to discharge radioactive water into the sea.
Tokyo may be postponing the plans, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Government officials in Japan told diplomats representing 22 countries, including South Korea, they are still mulling their options on discharging the water.
The water, currently stored in tanks in Fukushima, will be disposed of with “transparency” in mind, Tokyo said.
Controversy remains over Japan’s Advanced Liquid Processing System plant at Fukushima, which treats water but still leaves higher than permitted levels of strontium-90 in the treated water.


September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Section of exhaust stack at nuclear plant removed

Work that was expected to take two days ended up taking a month. They were initially delayed because the crane wasn’t tall enough!? Good grief. Pretty hard to believe that their engineers/decommissioning crew aren’t working together enough to figure something as simple and basic as that out in advance. Work of this “quality” certainly doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in their ability in their decommissioning efforts.
exhaust stack demolition april 11, 2019.jpg
September 3, 2019
Workers have finished removing the top section of an exhaust stack for two damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is working to dismantle the upper half of the 120-meter-tall stack.
It has released footage of the work completed on Sunday, about a month behind schedule.
The workers used a crane to lift off a section of the stack, together with the equipment used to cut it, and lowered them to the ground.
The stack was contaminated by radioactive gases released after the 2011 accident and is at risk of collapsing in an earthquake.
The iron framework that supports the stack was also damaged in the accident.
The company plans to complete the work by the end of March.
Removing the first section was originally scheduled to take two days but ended up taking over a month to complete.
The work was initially delayed when it was discovered that the crane wasn’t tall enough.
Equipment failures and other problems created further delays.
Officials say they will study the work done so far in order to streamline the demolition process.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima tragedy: The day of black snow

Aerial view of nuclear waste storage area in the mountainous forests of Iitate, Fukushima prefecture in Japan.
August 30, 2019
Toru Anzai is a former resident of Iitate, a small village in Fukushima, Japan, and dearly missed the bamboo shoots that grew in his hometown. During autumn, the bamboo shoots would blanket the mountains that overlooked the residents’ homes in the village. The residents would climb the mountains, gather the plants, and prepare them for dinner. But ever since that tragic day, no one climbed the mountains, and the wild plants vanished from their dinner tables. For Anzai, the bamboo shoots became sad reminders of what used to be.
Anzai remembers the day as the “black snow” day. He heard the explosions on 12 March, 2011. Black smoke rose from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and the smell of burning iron pervaded the village. It started to rain. The rain turned into snow. The snow was black.
The black snow filled Anzai with an ominous dread, and soon, his fears became reality.
After the black snow shrouded the village, Anzai described in an interview how he started to feel throbbing pain on his skin. It was almost like being sunburned after sunbathing for too long. Both of his legs darkened then peeled in white patches. The only remedy to the peeling was applying medicinal ointment. 
Soon after, his entire body began to suffer. The headaches came, followed by shoulder pains. Then the hair loss occurred. Three months after the disaster, he left behind his home and evacuated to survive. Unfortunately, the tragedy did not end there.
Three years later, Anzai started having strokes and heart attacks. A stent was placed in his blood vessel; the tube held open his narrowed blood vessel and kept the blood flowing to his heart. With treatment, his pain somewhat subsided, but whenever Anzai visited Iitate, the pain throughout his entire body relapsed. While these symptoms have not been conclusively connected to the radiation exposure, Anzai believed that they were the realities of the black snow day. 
Toru Anzai visting his house in Iitate, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.
Anzai’s temporary housing was very narrow and consisted of a living room and a bedroom. He had moved into this subsidised housing complex eight years ago. He was one of the first of the 126 families. Often, evacuees gathered around the common area and shared fond memories of their hometowns with each other. Whatever solace could be found, the evacuees found it in each other. 
Since allegedly completing the decontamination operation in Iitate, the Japanese government have been urging people to return to their village. In fact, Fukushima prefectural government had ended housing subsidies this past March, and by the end of the month, most people had left the complex. Only around ten families were still looking for a new place to live. 
Absently gazing into the dark, clouded sky, Anzai spoke bitterly. “I was kicked out of my hometown for doing nothing wrong. It was heartbreaking. Now, Iitate is polluted, and some of my neighbours have died. When the government asked me to evacuate last minute, I left. Now, they want me to go back. Back to all of the radioactive contamination. I’m so angry, but I don’t know what to do. We have repeatedly petitioned the government, but they’re not willing to listen. Our government has abandoned us.”
Nuclear waste storage area in Iitate, Fukushima prefecture in Japan. Adopting a return to normal policy, the Japanese government undertook an unprecedented decontamination program for areas of Fukushima contaminated by the triple reactor meltdown in March 2011
Prior to the nuclear incident, there were about 6,300 residents in Iitate. Eight years later, only a little over 300 evacuees have returned at the government’s persistent urging. Most of the returning residents were elderly, aged 60 or older. Even counting the non-natives who had recently relocated to the village, the total figure hovered around only 900 residents. 
Iitate’s old and new residents are exposed to radioactive substances on a daily basis. The Japanese government claimed to have completed the decontamination work, but a full decontamination is impossible due to the village’s terrain. More than 70% of Iitate is forest, and unlike in the farmlands, the removal of contaminants that have fallen among the mountainous forest is nearly impossible. 
Greenpeace nuclear expert Heinz Smital (Germany) and Florian Kasser (Switzerland) talk with Toru Anzai.
Each year, Greenpeace Germany conducts extensive research on Fukushima villages including Iitate. The findings confirm that the radiation exposure in these villages exceeds the established international safety standards. Anzai believes that the Japanese government is behind the forced homecoming of the Iitate residents. 
“The government hopes to publicise good news: the nuclear accident has been dealt with, and the residents have returned home. People who had no choice but to leave are now being pressured to return and put their lives on the line,” lamented Anzai.
The destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, nearly 8 years after the accident.
The Japanese government hopes to release more than one million tonnes of highly radioactive water into the Fukushima coast. If the contaminated water becomes flushed into the ocean, the contamination will only add to the harm already inflicted by the Fukushima accident. Furthermore, the ocean currents will shift the radioactive materials through the surrounding waters including the Pacific Ocean. 
The industrial pollution and toxins have already caused much distress to our oceans. Discharging the Fukushima’s radioactive water will only worsen the situation, and we cannot, and should never, let this happen. 
Sean Lee is the communication lead of Greenpeace Korea. 

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Japan must be prudent in Fukushima radioactive water issue’

‘Japan must be prudent in Fukushima water issue’
Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine is being summoned with a somber look at the South Korean foreign ministry headquarters in Seoul, Wednesday. Seoul’s First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young called the Japanese diplomat in on Wednesday when Tokyo’s decision to remove South Korea from its whitelist of countries receiving trade benefits took legal effect.
August 29, 2019
South Korea has urged Japan to remain transparent in its handling of 1.15 million tons of water that was contaminated after the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
“Japan explained that no specific conclusions over how to handle the water have been made as of now,” the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement. “The Japanese government also stressed that it is dealing with the issue in a responsible manner on a scientific basis.”
Previously, the ministry sent a diplomatic letter to its Japanese counterpart, asking Tokyo to share details over how it will dispose of the contaminated water, as its possible release into the neighboring ocean could end up polluting the East Sea.
Environmental groups, NGOs and activists such as Greenpeace have been warning about the possibility of serious danger posed by any discharge of the Fukushima water ― believed to be contaminated with tritium ― into the Pacific Ocean, underscoring the effect it could have on South Korea.
Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, South Korea has been raising its concerns about radiation at major Olympic venues near the Fukushima nuclear plant and the risk that its athletes may consume contaminated food products.
The Fukushima issue was a part of South Korea’s fresh encounter with Japan after Seoul scrapped a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact. Political experts say South Korea “knows a key tender spot” by taking the Fukushima issue ― Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was hoping to use the Games as a sign of recovery and hope after the Fukushima disaster.
Meanwhile, Seoul also has stepped up criticism of Tokyo for “seeking to deny its brutal wartime history” amid their intensifying political feud.
“We have a sense of doubt over whether Japan is facing up to the gloomy history which caused severe pain to people from a number of Asian countries, including Korea,” the ministry said in a separate statement.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan says no specific decision yet on disposal of Fukushima radioactive water

South Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Aug 27, 2019
Japan notified South Korea on Tuesday that it has not made any specific decision yet on how to dispose of contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Seoul officials said.
Tomofumi Nishinaga, an economic minister from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, delivered a diplomatic note in response to South Korea’s request last Monday to clarify its disposal plans and verify speculation that it could discharge the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, they said.
“The Japanese side explained that at this point in time, there is not any specific conclusion on how to dispose of the contaminated water, while stressing that it is taking steps based on scientific grounds with (a sense of) responsibility,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a press release.
Japan plans to hold a briefing for foreign diplomats based in Japan regarding its handling of the radioactive water on Sept. 4, the ministry added, citing the diplomatic note.
Seoul reiterated that the contaminated water issue should be handled in a way that does not affect the health of the citizens of both countries and the marine environment in the vicinity of the nuclear plant.
It also renewed calls for Japan to continue to provide “transparent and concrete” explanations on how it deals with the water.
Japan is reportedly exploring various options to dispose of the water contaminated due to the 2011 meltdown, including evaporating it and putting it deep underground. But discharging the treated water into the Pacific Ocean is seen as the cheapest and quickest disposal method.
Environmental groups and activists, such as Greenpeace, have opposed the discharge of the water containing radioactive tritium.
In a January report, Greenpeace said that a Japanese government task force proposed the discharge plan and ignored alternative options that would avoid further contamination of the ocean.(Yonhap)

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive water is not just tainted water!!!

TEPCO should be open in dealing with storage of tainted water
A large number of storage tanks on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant hold water processed to remove most radioactive substances.
August 23, 2019
An industry ministry subcommittee has started debating a new proposal for the long-term storage of radiation-contaminated water being generated by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, takes a dim view of this approach. But the expert panel of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry should assess the advantages and disadvantages of storing contaminated water in tanks for decades.
The No. 1 to No. 3 reactors at the plant are still generating 150 tons of polluted water per day as these reactors are being flooded to cool melted nuclear fuel and underground water keeps pouring in.
Even after being treated with a filtering system, the polluted water still contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, and has to be stored in on-site tanks.
For three years, the panel has been discussing five potential ways of dealing with the problem, including diluting the water to safe levels and releasing it into the ocean, or vaporizing the waste water and releasing the gas into the atmosphere.
Since water containing tritium from nuclear plants in Japan is released into the sea according to the legal safety standards, the dilute-and-release method has been the favorite option among the experts.
But local fishermen are vehemently opposed to this idea. At public hearings on the issue held last summer in Fukushima and Tokyo, many participants voiced their opposition to this approach.
In response to a growing chorus of calls for considering long-term storage, the ministry has decided to task the panel with considering the idea.
Long-term storage would allow for waiting for radiation levels to decline naturally over time without causing any harmful effect on the local fishing industry. But this method would also pose tough challenges, such as securing land to place storage tanks, ensuring safety for many decades and preventing any disruption in the work to decommission the reactors.
The experts need to carefully assess the costs and risks involved in the long-term storage of radioactive water.
In a troubling move, the electric utility, known as TEPCO, warned at a recent subcommittee meeting that storage tanks holding processed water on the grounds of the plant will become completely full by the summer of 2022.
The warning about the increasing difficulty of securing additional land to place tanks seems to be aimed at putting pressure on the central government to decide quickly on how to tackle the problem.
The ministry panel, however, should not feel pressed for time in carrying out its job. It should rather spend enough time and exercise sufficient caution as it determines whether there is really no additional space for keeping tanks.
Disclosure of relevant information by TEPCO is vital for the panel’s mission.
The company’s stance toward disclosure has been far from exemplary.
At the subcommittee meeting, the utility did not offer sufficient graphics or data to support its claim that there will be no more tanks to store contaminated water by the summer of 2022.
Some experts even suspect that the company deliberately held back such information.
Last year, TEPCO was roundly criticized for failing to make active efforts to make it known to the public that higher-than-standard levels of radioactive materials other than tritium had been detected in treated water.
The company’s attitude inevitably raises doubt whether it has done serious soul-searching over its poor disclosure performance.
TEPCO has a duty to disclose all relevant information including inconvenient facts and engage in sincere dialogue with the local communities over this issue.
No progress toward a decision on how to deal with the contaminated water is possible without the support and understanding of the local communities.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Sports bodies need to make own assessments of Fukushima: Greenpeace nuclear specialist

“The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.”
Nuclear specialist warns of unknown long-term health, environmental risks from Japan’s radioactive water disposal plan
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, speaks about Tokyo’s plan to discharge a massive amount of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean during an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week. (Greenpeace Seoul)
Aug 21, 2019
With less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, concerns are growing over the safety of the baseball and softball venues in disaster-hit Fukushima.
Seeking to break away from Japan’s association with high levels of radioactivity, the Abe government has branded the 2020 Olympics the “Recovery Games.”
But health and environmental risks from high levels of radiation persist in parts of Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear meltdown.
According to Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, those visiting Fukushima for the Summer Games next year should take a proactive approach to educating themselves on which areas of Fukushima are affected by radiation and on the impact of exposure to radiation.
“In terms of safety, there are certain areas of Fukushima where we would certainly not advise athletes or spectators to spend any time. Those are areas particularly close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, including where the torch processions will be taking place,” Burnie said in an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week.
“They are areas that are not safe for people to live. If you visit, you need to follow a radiation protocol. It is a bizarre situation that you are having Olympic events where people are concerned about radiation,” he added.
While noting that not all parts of Fukushima should be off limits, Burnie said athletes and sports bodies need to seek independent assessments on Fukushima, rather than relying on information provided by the Japanese government.
“It’s dangerous to just dismiss the whole of Fukushima as a radioactive disaster zone. It’s much more complex than that. The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.
As the senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Burnie has followed the Japanese government’s handling of the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
In a report published in January, Burnie alleged that Tokyo plans to dispose of some 1 million metric tons of contaminated water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean after the Summer Olympics.
If Japan follows through with the move, radioactive water is expected to be present in Korea’s East Sea a year later.
“For the past five years we’ve been accessing the process, the discussions, the documents submitted by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) … we were reviewing some of Tepco’s data (last year) and we looked at it and went ‘there is something wrong here with Tepco’s processing,’” Burnie said.
“It became very clear there has been bad decisions made, not really surprising, by Tepco, by the (Japanese) government over the last five or six years and how to manage the water crisis.”
Last year Tepco acknowledged its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, had failed to purify contaminated water stored in tanks at the Dai-ichi power plant.
A committee under Japan’s Ministry of Economy in 2016 put together five scenarios for the Japanese government to deal with the massive volume of pollutants stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
The amount of water stored at the plant is to reach its full capacity of 1.3 million tons by the end of 2020, with about 170 tons accumulating daily.
According to Burnie, Tokyo has chosen to discharge the radioactive water instead of acting on any of the other four suggestions because “it is the most cheap and fast.”
Besides increased levels of radioactive cesium found in Fukushima and in the East Sea, Burnie warned of “cesium-rich micro particles” extremely small in size and inhaled through breathing.
Cesium is one of the largest sources of radioactivity from the 2011 disaster and has a half-life of 30 years.
“There is evidence from samples … some scientific literature has published the results and they found concentrations of these particles in areas 20-30 kilometers from the plant. … The problem is these particles can be inhaled. Then some of them lodge inside your lung at which point you are getting an internal dose, a very focused, very localized, relatively high-exposure dose to individual cells,” Burnie said.
“That’s a real problem because there is very little known about how cesium in that form will affect your long-term health. … Again, the people most at risk are those returning to live in areas of Fukushima affected by these particles. But the Japanese government has not taken into account in any of its assessments what those risks are,” he added.
Stressing that the risks of exposure to radiation should not be exaggerated, Burnie noted there is no safe level of radiation exposure and the long-term effects are unknown.
“The effects you will only see over decades. It won’t be instant, it’s not an acute radiation exposure, it’s low-level radiation,” Burnie said.
“The country that will be next impacted will be Korea, because it’s the geographically closest. … There is no safe threshold for radiation exposure. … Why should you be exposed when there is a clear alternative, which is you store?”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food

My respect to South Korea: the one and only country to protect its population from Japanese radiation contaminated products and to protest against japan’s plan to dump all the Fukushima radioactive water into our Pacific ocean. I would like to hear the countries protesting and our elected politicians have at heart to defend as well the health of their citizens!
South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food
August 21, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Wednesday it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for South Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea has stepped up demands this month for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said on Wednesday that it will double the frequency of testing of any food products with a history of being returned in the past five years after trace amounts of radiation were detected.
“As public concerns about radioactive contamination have been rising recently, we are planning a more thorough inspection starting August 23,” said Lee Seoung-yong, director-general at MFDS.
The affected food imports from Japan will be relatively minimal, as only about two tonnes are returned out of about 190,000 tonnes of total Japanese food imports annually, Lee said.
An official at Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Japanese food products were safe and the increased radiation testing was unnecessary.
“Safety of Japanese food items has been secured and no additional restrictions are necessary. Many countries have agreed with this and got rid of import restrictions completely … It is very regrettable that these additional measures will be implemented,” the official told Reuters.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers said on Tuesday that South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village.
South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned the economy minister from the Japanese embassy in Seoul over media reports and international environmental groups’ claims that Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean.
In April, South Korea won the bulk of its appeal in a dispute at the World Trade Organization over import bans and testing requirements it had imposed on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
S.Korea to tighten checks on food from Japan
August 21, 2019
The South Korean government says it will tighten radiation checks on food products imported from Japan.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in March 2011, South Korea banned imports of marine products from eight Japanese prefectures and farm products from 14 prefectures. Other food items are tested for radiation upon arrival in South Korea.
South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry announced on Wednesday that 17 food products that have tested positive for even minute amounts of radiation in the past will be screened twice, starting on Friday. The items include processed seafood, blueberries, tea and coffee.
South Korea’s government announced earlier this month that it is stepping up radiation checks on coal ash and three types of recyclable imports from Japan.
On Monday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned a senior Japanese Embassy official for an explanation of Japan’s plan to release into the ocean water containing radioactive substances generated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enough is enough: Japan must not discharge radioactive water

Radiation alert: Japan must not discharge water



By Mitch Shin

August 20, 2019

The relationship between Seoul and Tokyo has deteriorated rapidly since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an economic retaliation against South Korea on July 1. Seoul has been responding to the Japanese government’s actions, and the South Korean people have been boycotting Japanese products as a countermeasure in the diplomatic war with Japan. However, there have been media reports recently that could strain the relationship even further. Outlets reported that there was a possibility that the Japanese government could discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

If the Japanese government discharges 1.1 million metric tons of highly toxic radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, it could flow into the East Sea – which the Japanese call the Sea of Japan – within a year. The South Korean government vowed to respond and a Foreign Ministry spokesman said it would ask Japan for information about the status of the polluted water at the Fukushima plant.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a Japanese Embassy official on Monday and asked for a formal response from Tokyo regarding the Fukushima-contaminated water discharge plan. The Korean government should respond with finality to this issue. Just as the government has fundamentally prevented the import of Fukushima seafood by filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization, the government should take a hard line on this issue.

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist at the Greenpeace Germany office who wrote a column in The Economist on the issue, says the Japanese government should put Fukushima’s polluted water in long-term storage. Burnie also emphasized that it should not be discharged into the Pacific Ocean. He highlighted the vulnerability of South Korea if Japan discharges polluted war into the Pacific Ocean. According to the UN Convention on Maritime Law, Seoul has the right to request explanations and information on the potential impact of the Fukushima crisis on its environment. Seoul is expected to demand answers at the Joint Conference of the International Maritime Organization’s London Convention and Protocol next month.

According to Greenpeace and Korean media reports, the Japanese government has stored about 110,000 tons of high-level radioactive contaminated water in storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since 2011. By temporarily storing contaminated water in tanks, the Japanese government is minimizing the possibility of damage caused by Fukushima’s contaminated water. However, groundwater introduced into the three reactors creates 1,497 tons of high-level radioactive contaminated water each week. An even more serious concern is the contaminated water in the reactor, which is 100 million times higher than the contaminated water stored in the tank after treatment. As of July, there are 18,000 tons of radioactive water in the reactor. The Japanese government has set a goal of reducing the polluted water in the reactor to 6,000 tons by 2021, but Burnie said it was a difficult goal to achieve. 

Greenpeace researchers also found that the East Sea was contaminated when water containing cesium was discharged into the Pacific Ocean during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Pollution in the East Sea increased between 2012 and 2016, peaking in 2015. Knowing this, if the Japanese government releases polluted water into the Pacific Ocean ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the Korean government should condemn its actions in every way possible. In addition, the international community should recognize the seriousness of this issue and seek cooperation from countries that may be affected by Fukushima’s contaminated water.

The Japanese government is expected to decide how to best treat Fukushima’s contaminated water, which will likely reach storage limits shortly before the Tokyo Olympics in August 2020. However, it only provides the international community with a fundamental answer to the problem but does not disclose specific solutions. It also announced that it would include ingredients from Fukushima in the Olympic team’s diet during the Tokyo Olympics. However, according to reports by JTBC, a South Korean broadcaster, radiation levels still reach dangerous levels throughout some Fukushima regions.

Recently, right-wing politicians in the Japanese government have made negative remarks about Korea indiscriminately in an effort to fuel the economic war with Japan. In recent months, the biggest issue in South Korea has been the Japanese government’s economic retaliation against trade regulations, not North Korea’s missile launch. And as the press reported that the possibility that the Fukushima contaminated water could cause affect Korea, the Korean people are once again preparing to address the Japanese government’s vicious behavior. It may be common sense to get along with neighboring countries, but one cannot expect the Korean people to be diplomatic under the circumstances. The Japanese government has certainly crossed the line.

Is it common sense that the Tokyo Olympics baseball games should be held at a venue where there is a high risk of exposure to radiation (one of the baseball fields is located near Fukushima)? During the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Korean people raised funds to support reconstruction. Is the Japanese government repaying the goodwill of the Korean people like this? Abe should consider how Germany asked forgiveness from other nations after World War II.

Enough is enough.

Mitch Shin is a student at the University of Utah Asia Campus, major in the Department of Communication. Shin is also a correspondent for The Daily Utah Chronicle, which is an independent student voice of the University of Utah.


August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , | Leave a comment