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Pacific islands urge Japan to delay release of Fukushima waste over contamination fears

January 18, 2023

SYDNEY, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Pacific island nations are urging Japan to delay the release of water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant over fears fisheries will be contaminated, the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) said on Wednesday.

The Japanese government said last week that water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant could be released into the sea “around this spring or summer,” raising concerns from island nations still grappling with the legacy of nuclear testing decades ago.

Japan had approved the future release of more than 1 million tonnes of water from the site into the ocean after treatment in April 2021.

The PIF, a regional bloc of 17 island nations, argues the release of the water could have a major impact on fishing grounds that island economies rely on, and where up to half of the world’s tuna is sourced.

“Our region is steadfast that there be no discharge until all parties verify it is safe,” PIF Secretary General Henry Puna said on Wednesday at a livestreamed public meeting in Suva, Fiji.

“We must prevent action that will lead or mislead us towards another major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others,” he added, saying Pacific islanders continued to endure the long-term impacts of the nuclear testing legacy on a daily basis.

The United States conducted nuclear testing in the Pacific islands in the 1940s and 1950s and the Marshall Islands continues to campaign for more compensation from Washington over lasting health and environmental effects.

France conducted atomic testing between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean.

Ken Buesseler, a scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told the forum on Wednesday that a PIF scientific expert panel was urging Japan to reconsider the waste release because it was not supported by data and more information was needed.

Radioactivity moves across the ocean with currents and tides and risks contaminating fish, he said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said Japan had examined several options to address “a unique and challenging situation.” “Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards,” the spokesperson said.

“We look forward to the Government of Japan’s continued coordination with the IAEA as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach,” the official added, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Japan’s foreign ministry has previously said that regulators deemed it safe to release the water, which would be filtered to remove most isotopes but would still contain traces of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen hard to separate from water.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/pacific-islands-urge-japan-delay-release-fukushima-waste-over-contamination-2023-01-18/

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January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview: Japan’s unilateral radioactive wastewater discharge irresponsible, harmful: green activist

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

(Xinhua) January 16, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — Japan’s unilateral push to discharge radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean is irresponsible and harmful, as the Japanese government pursued it without consultations with neighboring countries, a South Korean green activist said.

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, told Xinhua on Saturday.

“Neighboring countries such as (South) Korea and China could suffer more direct damage, so Japan had to consult with them. The problem is that Japan follows its own process (without consultations),” said Ahn.

“A sizeable amount of the contaminated water, such as tritium, is difficult to purify no matter how much purification is performed. It is very irresponsible to release it as it is.”

Japan’s planned release of tritium-laced wastewater from the Fukushima power plant into the sea will start around this spring or summer, according to Kyodo News reports citing the Japanese government.

Japan decided in April 2021 to start dumping about 1.25 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

“A lot of radioactive materials have already flowed into the sea after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Because of that, fish contaminated with cesium are caught in waters off Fukushima,” said Ahn.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“Once (the contaminated water) is thrown into the sea, it cannot be retrieved. Environmental effects from radioactive materials cannot be felt immediately, but will inevitably appear over a long period of time,” Ahn said.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

The South Korean government, which has opposed the radioactive wastewater dumping by Japan, reiterated its opposition.

“Putting top priority on public health and safety, the government will continue to respond by maintaining its position that the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant should be safely disposed of in accordance with international standards from the objective and scientific perspectives,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said Friday.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

China urges Japan to safely dispose of nuclear-contaminated water

Xinhua | 2023-01-16

BEIJING — China once again urges Japan to take the reasonable concerns of relevant parties seriously and dispose of its nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Wang made the remarks at a daily news briefing here in response to reports that Japan would pipe nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean during the spring and summer this year.

Wang said that over the past two years, the international community has strongly questioned and opposed the unilateral and erroneous decision of the Japanese government to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, and expressed grave concerns over the impact such an action would have on the marine environment and public health.

Wang said the majority of the Japanese public is also opposed to this irresponsible approach. When polled, 55 percent of respondents opposed the disposal of contaminated water into the ocean.

“It is regrettable that the concerns of all parties have yet to be given due attention or be addressed by Japan,” Wang said, adding that Japan has failed to provide scientific and credible explanations concerning the legitimacy of its plan, the accuracy of data on the nuclear-contaminated water, the effectiveness of the treatment system, and the uncertainties about the environmental impact.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sent three technical task forces to Japan and so far, there has been no conclusive resolution on Japan’s proposal, Wang said, noting that the agency has also issued many requests to Japan, seeking clarifications or making recommendations for improved disposal plans.

“Under such circumstances, it is reckless and irresponsible for Japan to approve the discharge plan and proceed with the relevant construction project,” he said.

Wang said that China once again urges Japan to take the reasonable concerns of relevant parties seriously, and dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner. Japan should subject to the strict monitoring of the IAEA, and protect the marine environment, health rights and interests of all people, he added.

“Without authorization and full consultation with its neighbors, other stakeholders and relevant international institutions, Japan should not begin the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean,” Wang said.

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202301/16/WS63c551cea31057c47eba9e94.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese public opposes plan to dump radioactive water into sea

TOKYO, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Japanese government’s latest radioactive wastewater discharge plan scheduled for this spring or summer is facing an angry backlash among the public, especially those in the fishing industry, who felt uneasy about the decision.

The Japanese government on Friday said a controversial plan to release radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan’s northeast into the Pacific Ocean will start in the spring or summer.

Japan’s dumping of the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea is suspected of violating the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, as well as the 1996 protocol to the convention, Masahide Kimura, member of a Japanese anti-nuclear campaign group, told Xinhua.

Such a plan also violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as Japan’s foreign ministry admitted that the area where the discharge occurred is not of inland waters, Kimura said.

Kimura believed that spreading radioactive materials should not be allowed, as only storage is the means of prevention, and efforts should be prioritized to stop the inflow of groundwater and prevent the continued increase of nuclear-contaminated water.

Japan’s environment ministry has not yet assessed the environmental impact of the decades-long discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water into the North Pacific Ocean, he noted.

“The opposition to the discharge of treated water into the ocean has not changed in the slightest,” Masanobu Sakamoto, president of the National Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Japan, said in a statement on Friday, demanding a serious response from the government.

Government support for the fishing industry is essential to make up for the damage done to its reputation, Takuya Tasso, governor of Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, told the press.

Despite strengthened information released by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) since last December, the discharge plan at present has not yet gained the “full understanding of citizens and fishery stakeholders,” according to Hiroyuki Uchida, mayor of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

Uchida hoped that the government and TEPCO would earnestly fulfill their original commitment, which meant no disposal of the nuclear-polluted water will be carried out without the understanding of relevant parties.

An official with the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Co-operative told the press that they will continue to express opposition, ensuring that fishermen do not suffer losses while firmly stating what is necessary to sustain their livelihoods.

In fact, the government’s plan to dump the contaminated water into the sea has been opposed by civil groups in Japan since it was launched in April 2021.

Last September, a joint petition of 42,000 people opposing the discharge plan and demanding other ways to deal with the contaminated water was submitted to TEPCO and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry by representatives from livelihood co-operative societies in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures as well as the fisheries association of Miyagi.

About 51 percent of respondents were “against” and “relatively opposed” to the idea of discharging the filtered wastewater into the sea after diluting it to national standards, according to a survey by the country’s public broadcaster NHK at the end of 2020.

A poll published by the Asahi Shimbun in early 2021 showed that 55 percent surveyed were opposed to the disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea after treatment.

https://english.news.cn/20230115/4b8b560c8bf7452f819a331d92383644/c.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s unilateral radioactive wastewater discharge irresponsible, harmful: green activist

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

File photo taken on Oct. 12, 2017 shows huge tanks that store contaminated radioactive wastewater in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

Source: Xinhua 2023-01-15

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement said.

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — Japan’s unilateral push to discharge radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean is irresponsible and harmful, as the Japanese government pursued it without consultations with neighboring countries, a South Korean green activist said.

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, told Xinhua on Saturday.

“Neighboring countries such as (South) Korea and China could suffer more direct damage, so Japan had to consult with them. The problem is that Japan follows its own process (without consultations),” said Ahn.

“A sizeable amount of the contaminated water, such as tritium, is difficult to purify no matter how much purification is performed. It is very irresponsible to release it as it is.”

Japan’s planned release of tritium-laced wastewater from the Fukushima power plant into the sea will start around this spring or summer, according to Kyodo News reports citing the Japanese government.

Japan decided in April 2021 to start dumping about 1.25 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

“A lot of radioactive materials have already flowed into the sea after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Because of that, fish contaminated with cesium are caught in waters off Fukushima,” said Ahn.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“Once (the contaminated water) is thrown into the sea, it cannot be retrieved. Environmental effects from radioactive materials cannot be felt immediately, but will inevitably appear over a long period of time,” Ahn said.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

The South Korean government, which has opposed the radioactive wastewater dumping by Japan, reiterated its opposition.

“Putting top priority on public health and safety, the government will continue to respond by maintaining its position that the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant should be safely disposed of in accordance with international standards from the objective and scientific perspectives,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said Friday.

https://english.news.cn/20230115/d0affa1c0f3747e8b36fce7babbe7644/c.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima News Live:Japan Plans To Release Water From Destroyed Nuclear Plant

January 13, 2023

Japan said that it will dispose a million tonnes of water into the sea from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant this year. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency calling the process safe, concerns have been raised by the neighbouring countries

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan Eyes Delay of Fukushima Plant Water Release

The plan to released treated radioactive wastewater has been fiercely opposed by local residents and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea.

This aerial photo shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, on March 17, 2022.

By Mari Yamaguchi
January 14, 2023

Japan has revised the timing of a planned release to the sea of treated but still radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to “around spring or summer,” indicating a delay from the initial target of this spring, after factoring in the progress of a release tunnel and the need to gain public support.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, announced in April 2021 a plan to begin releasing the treated wastewater into the sea starting in spring 2023. They say more than 1 million tons of water stored in about 1,000 tanks at the plant are hampering its decommissioning and risk leaking in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami.

Under the current plan, TEPCO will transport the treated water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal facility, where it will be diluted with seawater and sent through an undersea tunnel, currently under construction, to an offshore outlet. The company has acknowledged the possibility of rough winter weather and sea conditions delaying the tunnel progress.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu told reporters Friday the government has adopted a revised action plan, which includes enhanced efforts to ensure safety and measures to financially support the local fishing industry and a new release target of “around spring or summer this year.”

TEPCO President Kobayakawa Tomoaki said that despite the government’s new timing for the wastewater release, his company still aims to have the facility ready by the spring. He also acknowledged a lack of local understanding about the release and pledged to continue efforts to ease safety concerns.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing three reactors to melt and release large amounts of radiation. Water used to cool the damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since leaked into the basements of the reactor buildings and has been collected, treated and stored in tanks.

The release plan has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, local residents, and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea. Fukushima residents worry the reputation of their agricultural and fishing products will be further damaged.

Most of the radioactivity is removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be removed and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say the environmental and health impacts will be negligible as the water will be slowly released after further treatment and dilution by large amounts of seawater.

Some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium and other radionuclides on the environment and humans is still unknown and the release plan should be delayed. They say tritium affects humans more when it is consumed in fish.

Japan is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to increase the safety, transparency, and understanding of the water discharge plan. An IAEA team that visited Japan a number of times for talks and plant inspections last year will visit again in January to meet with nuclear regulators and will release a final report before the planned release begins.

https://thediplomat.com/2023/01/japan-eyes-delay-of-fukushima-plant-water-release/

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima water to be released into ocean in next few months, says Japan

Authorities to begin release of a million tonnes of water from stricken nuclear plant after treatment to remove most radioactive material

A worker stands near tanks used to store treated radioactive water used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The water is soon to be released into the ocean.

January 13, 2023

The controversial release of more than a million tonnes of water from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will begin in the northern spring or summer, Japan’s government has said – a move that has sparked anger among local fishing communities and countries in the region.

The decision comes more than two years after the government approved the release of the water, which will be treated to remove most radioactive materials but will still contain tritium, a naturally occurring radioactive form of hydrogen that is technically difficult to separate from water.

Japanese officials insist the “treated” water will not pose a threat to human health or the marine environment, but the plans face opposition from fishermen who say it risks destroying their livelihoods, almost 12 years after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake triggered a huge tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along Japan’s north-east coast.

Tsunami waves crashed into Fukushima Daiichi, knocking out its backup electricity supply, triggering meltdowns in three of its reactors and sending large quantities of radiation into the atmosphere in the most serious nuclear accident since Chornobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

The wastewater in Fukushima is being stored in more than 1,000 tanks that officials say need to be removed so the plant can be decommissioned – a process expected to take 30 to 40 years.

Japan’s foreign ministry said in July that regulators had deemed it safe to release the water, which will be gradually discharged into the Pacific ocean via a tunnel after being treated and diluted.

The plan’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has said its water treatment technology – known as Alps – can remove all radioactive materials from water except tritium, which it says is harmless in small amounts.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also pointed out that nuclear plants around the world use a similar process to dispose of wastewater containing low-level concentrations of tritium and other radionuclides.

South Korea and China have voiced concern about the discharge, while the Pacific Islands Forum said recently it had “grave concerns” about the proposed release.

Writing in the Guardian, the forum’s secretary general, Henry Puna, said Japan “should hold off on any such release until we are certain about the implications of this proposal on the environment and on human health, especially recognising that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living”.

The South Korean government, which has yet to lift its ban on Fukushima seafood, has said that releasing the water would pose a “grave threat” to marine life. Fishing unions in the area oppose the release, warning it would cause alarm among consumers and derail more than a decade of efforts to reassure the public that Fukushima seafood is safe to eat.

Under the plan approved by Japan’s cabinet on Friday, fishermen who fear that the release will impact their livelihoods will be able to access a new ¥50bn ($385m) fund, the Kyodo news agency said.

“We would like to thoroughly explain these measures to fishing communities and other relevant parties while listening to their concerns,” the chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said at the meeting, according to Kyodo.

The liquid, which Japanese officials claim is “treated” rather than “contaminated”, comprises water used to cool the damaged reactors, and rain and groundwater that seeps into the area.

Kyodo said the IAEA had conducted several safety reviews of the plan and would issue a report based on its findings, as well as providing support before, during and after the discharge.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/13/fukushima-water-to-be-released-into-ocean-in-next-few-months-says-japan

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fishermen are angry and give up on the policy of discharging treated wastewater into the ocean

January 14, 2023
On January 13, people involved in the fishing industry in Fukushima Prefecture and the surrounding area voiced their anger and resignation over the government’s plan to begin discharging treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean “around this spring or summer.

In the afternoon of the same day, the fishing port of Kakedo (Namie-cho, Fukushima Prefecture), located about 6 km north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, was deserted after the landing had already finished, but several fishermen were working on their fishing nets and boats.
 A young fisherman who had started fishing for baby sardines looked resigned: “The government will force me to release the treated water even if I scream,” he said. But I am still afraid of the reputational damage it will cause.
 In Fukushima Prefecture, a test fishery that has been in operation since the nuclear accident ended in March 2021. The catch is about one-fifth of what it was before the accident, but it is gradually recovering. The owner of a fresh fish store in Minamisoma City, which mainly handles fish from the Hiketo fishing port, said angrily, “The fishing season is finally picking up, but if the fish are affected by the release, it will be the end of the season.

The government and TEPCO “have done nothing but lie…keep your promises.
 The fishermen’s wish is to continue the fishing industry. Satoshi Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Federation, has appealed to the government and TEPCO, saying, “We want to continue fishing in Fukushima so that we can hand on to our successors” and “We cannot consent to the discharge into the ocean. The prefectural fisheries federation said it has not been contacted by the government and cannot make any formal comment, but a representative stressed, “We will remain resolutely opposed to this.
 We want them to stop discharging into the ocean. I am just disappointed,” said Tsuneko Nemoto, 66, who runs a trawl fishing business based in the Nakaminato fishing port in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture. She is mindful of the government’s and TEPCO’s promise not to discharge the waste into the ocean without the understanding of those involved. “I don’t trust them because they have lied to us so many times, but they must keep their promise,” she said.
 A representative of the Miyagi Prefectural Fisheries Federation also stated clearly that they were opposed to ocean discharge. He also said that he doubted whether the government’s dissemination of information about the treated water was reassuring to consumers. (Takeshi Yamakawa, Natsuko Katayama, Nozomi Masui, Nagasaki University of Technology)

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster: Japan to release radioactive water into sea this year

January 13, 2023

Japan says it will release more than a million tonnes of water into the sea from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant this year.

After treatment the levels of most radioactive particles meet the national standard, the operator said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the proposal is safe, but neighbouring countries have voiced concern.

The 2011 Fukushima disaster was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Decommissioning has already started but could take four decades.

“We expect the timing of the release would be sometime during this spring or summer,” said chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Friday, adding that the government will wait for a “comprehensive report” from IAEA before the release.

Every day, the plant produces 100 cubic metres of contaminated water, which is a mixture of groundwater, seawater and water used to keep the reactors cool. It is then filtered and stored in tanks.

With more than 1.3 million cubic metres on site, space is running out.

The water is filtered for most radioactive isotopes, but the level of tritium is above the national standard, operator Tepco said. Experts say tritium is very difficult to remove from water and is only harmful to humans in large doses.

However, neighbouring countries and local fishermen oppose the proposal, which was approved by the Japanese government in 2021.

The Pacific Islands Forum has criticised Japan for the lack of transparency.

“Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living,” Forum Secretary General Henry Puna told news website Stuff.

“Japan is breaking the commitment that their leaders have arrived at when we held our high level summit in 2021.

“It was agreed that we would have access to all independent scientific and verifiable scientific evidence before this discharge takes place. Unfortunately, Japan has not been co-operating.”

North-eastern Japan was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on 11 March 2011, which then triggered a giant tsunami.

The waves hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, flooding three reactors and sparking a major disaster.

Authorities set up an exclusion zone which grew larger and larger as radiation leaked from the plant, forcing more than 150,000 people to evacuate from the area. The zone remains in place.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64259043?fbclid=IwAR3kRJIQjVTN2ulv_iyUybfrv_sV2MsogyeAcwfmX6GV6yJBC2nQDD03tOM

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

“Treated water” from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to be discharged into the ocean around this spring or summer

January 13, 2023

The government has decided to discharge “treated water” from the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean in spring or summer of this year.

At a recently held cabinet meeting, the government decided to begin discharging “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean “in the spring or summer of this year” after the completion of construction of discharge facilities and inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

In April of last year, the government decided on a basic policy of starting ocean discharge “in about two years,” and this decision is a more concrete formulation of that timing.

The government has also included a new 50 billion yen fund to be used to assist fishermen throughout Japan who are concerned about reputational damage caused by the discharge of treated wastewater, including the cost of developing new fishing grounds and fuel costs.

Mr. Kobayakawa, president of TEPCO Holdings, said, “For us, risk and safety are our top priorities, and we will carry out our role with the utmost care. (Regarding the understanding of local residents) I don’t think we are in a situation where the understanding of local residents has progressed well yet, so we would like to make every effort to address the various concerns and anxieties of people in various positions, explain them in detail, and foster the understanding of as many people as possible. We will do our best to explain the situation to as many people as possible and to foster their understanding.

https://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/23526805/?fbclid=IwAR2ftkKE8et2ZEECwrofUvLUrt-sQthMU4BBoh6V_vVJHZdxB81nkEgGcIY

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Pacific Island Forum could sideline Japan over nuclear waste plan

The Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen from Futaba Town, Fukushima prefecture on March 11, 2020.

12 January 2023

Japan is at risk of losing its status as a Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue Partner over Tokyo’s nuclear waste dumping plan.

Japan is due to start dumping one million tonnes of nuclear waste from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean in only a few months.

According to Japan’s government, the wastewater is to be treated by an Advanced Liquid Processing System, which will remove nuclides from the water.

It says the water to be discharged into the ocean is not contaminated.

Last year, the Pacific Islands Forum demanded Japan share pivotal information about the plan.

Secretary General Henry Puna said this month that, in order to keep its status, Japan needs to ramp up communication and transparency over the issue.

The message to Japan is, “hey look, has there been a change in your attitude to the Pacific?” he told RNZ Pacific.

“It’s a bit daunting, talking to a big sovereign country like Japan, and also a good, long-standing friend of the Pacific,” Puna said.

The “preferred course of action” is to engage in a “friendly manner” with Japan.

“We’re long-standing friends, and Japan is a very important partner for us in the Pacific,” he said.

“This issue strikes at the very heart of our being as Pacific people. We will not let it go.

“In fact, we are very serious and we will take all options to get Japan to at least cooperate with us by releasing the information that our technical experts are asking of them.

“Because all we want is to be in a position where our experts can say, ‘okay, look, the release is harmless, you can go ahead’, or ‘there are some issues that we need further discussion and further scientific research with Japan’,” he said.

Anger at lack of cooperation

“They’re breaking the commitment that their Prime Minister and our leaders have arrived at when we had our high level summit in 2021,” Puna said.

“It was agreed during that summit that we would have access to all independent scientific and verifiable scientific evidence before this discharge can take place.

“So far, unfortunately, Japan has not been cooperating,” Puna said.

His last conversation with Tokyo was just before Christmas with their ambassador in Suva.

“Japan has come back since then, to indicate that they are amenable to a meeting with our panel of experts in Tokyo sometime early next month.

“But it’s important for us to avoid the frustrations that have been happening to date.

“I have made it clear to Japan that we will not agree to such a meeting unless Japan gives us an undertaking now or before the meeting that they will provide all information that our experts will request of them and provide them in a timely manner because time is of the essence,” Puna said.

What is a ‘Forum Dialogue Partner’?

There are 21 partners, with Japan joining in 1989.

The purpose of the Forum Dialogue Partner mechanism (formally known as the Post Forum Dialogue mechanism), established by Forum Leaders in 1989, is to invite selected countries outside of the Pacific Islands region with significant cooperation and engagement and political or economic interests, to participate in a dialogue with Forum Leaders, according to the Forum website

Other partners include the United States, China, the UK, France, and the European Union.

There are six criteria which must be met to maintain the status.

When questioned on whether or not the government of Japan meets all of them, Puna provided some insight into where Forum leaders are sitting.

Q. Would you say Japan’s actions so far throughout this nuclear issue, and the conversations that have been happening, show that they have dedicated support for the sustainable and resilient development of the Pacific region?

A. One could say that what they’re proposing to do is at total odds with that commitment, or undertaking.

Q. Is Japan’s position on the release date of treated nuclear waste a shared interest and common position that supports foreign priorities?

A. You’re asking some very difficult questions. That really is a decision that our leaders take, we can only advise leaders, but any ultimate decision is to be made at the leaders level.

Q. Is Japan on the brink of being pushed off the table?

A. Of course, you know, that is an option that’s open to the leaders to take. It has happened before, for example, France was continuing with their nuclear testing in Mururoa atoll, they were actually suspended as dialogue partners. But let me emphasise again, that that is a decision that only our leaders can take.

Q. What must Japan do to keep their seat, to give the leaders confidence?

A. This is a good test of Japan’s sincerity and commitment to the Pacific. We’re not stopping, we’re not asking for the discharge not to take place. All we’re asking is for it to be deferred until such time as all relevant information and data is provided to our panel of experts. So they can be in a position to advise our leaders that the discharge is safe or not safe. And if it’s not safe, then also to pull it out and identify areas where it’s not safe, so that we can work with Japan, you know, to resolve those issues.

Q. Is this issue going to be raised at the next Pacific Islands Forum meeting?

A. Well, depending on how it plays out over the next couple of months, it will definitely be raised.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has confirmed it will speak with RNZ Pacific on January 18.

Hiroshima survivor Toshiko Tanaka and her daughter Reiko Tashiro at the ‘Nuclear Connections Across Oceania’ conference.

US marine laboratories opposed to Japan’s plan.

The US National Association of Marine Laboratories, an organisation of more than 100 member laboratories, expressed its opposition in a new paper.

They say there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety, and an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.

They called on the Government of Japan and International Atomic Energy Agency scientists to more fully and adequately consider the options recommended by the Pacific Islands Forum’s Expert Panel.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/482298/pacific-island-forum-could-sideline-japan-over-nuclear-waste-plan

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Please stop’ – Pacific pleads with Japan over nuclear waste release

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna says Japan is breaking its commitment to people of the Blue Continent and the world.

Jan 12 2023

Japan must work with the Pacific to find a solution to its nuclear waste plan or we face disaster, the Pacific Islands Forum has warned. In a few months, Japan will start dumping one million tonnes of treated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the Pacific Ocean. Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna said Tokyo has failed to communicate and be transparent over the release. He said they were concerned because the matter “strikes at the very heart of our Pacific people, and we will not let it go”

This treated water was used to clean up the Fukushima plant after the nuclear accident that followed the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Puna said that over the past 20 months, forum members have been in dialogue with the Japanese government over its April 2021 decision to release the contaminated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific from this year.

“PIF members took the strong position from the outset that Japan should hold off on any such release until we are certain about the implications on the environment and on human health,” Puna told Stuff.

“Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living.”

Puna said while Japan is a Forum Dialogue Partner, it risks losing this status over the discharge plan.

Other dialogue partners include the United States, China, United Kingdom, France and the European Union who have significant co-operation, engagement and political or economic interests to participate in a dialogue with Pacific Forum leaders, Puna said.

“Japan is breaking the commitment that their leaders have arrived at when we held our high level summit in 2021,” Puna said.

“It was agreed that we would have access to all independent scientific and verifiable scientific evidence before this discharge takes place. Unfortunately, Japan has not been co-operating.”

Japan said the wastewater was treated by an Advanced Liquid Processing System, which could remove nuclides from the water.

In a statement, a government official maintained the water to be discharged into the ocean was not contaminated.

“This is a good test of Japan’s sincerity and commitment to the Pacific,” Puna said. “Just stop and listen to us. Hear what we have to say.

“All we’re asking is for the release to be deferred until all relevant information and data is provided to our panel of experts, so they can be in a position to advise our leaders that the discharge is safe or not safe.

“If it’s not safe, pull it out and identify areas that are unsafe.”

Storage tanks for radioactive water at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (Tepco) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant

Puna said the decision for any ocean release should not be a domestic matter for Japan, but a global and transnational one.

“It should give rise to the need to examine the issue in the context of obligations under international law.”

The US National Association of Marine Laboratories said there was a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety.

In a statement, the organisation of more than 100-member laboratories said there was an abundance of data showing serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.

The group called on Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to consider the options recommended by the Pacific forum’s expert panel.

The IAEA’s third report on the Fukushima water treatment was published on December 29, urging Japan to adopt an open, transparent, science-based and safe approach in disposing the water, under strict supervision by the IAEA.

The IAEA Task Force visited Japan in February and March last year and released inconclusive reports on their findings.

In July last year, the Tokyo Electric Power Company was given the green light by the government to carry out the discharge expected to start in April.

The company has been approached for comment.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/130917630/please-stop–pacific-pleads-with-japan-over-nuclear-waste-release

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacific states entitled to claims against Japan for discharge of radioactive nuclear wastewater

2023-01-06

“We must remind Japan that if the radioactive nuclear wastewater is safe, just dump it in Tokyo, test it in Paris and store it in Washington, but keep our Pacific nuclear-free.” Vanuatu’s famous politician Motarilavoa Hilda Lini spoke for all people living in the Pacific region when making this statement.

The Japanese government announced in April 2021 that it will begin dumping the nuclear wastewater stored at Fukushima into the ocean from the spring of 2023. As that day is approaching, the international community is voicing waves of objection, and people living in the Pacific region have consistently expressed their strong protest. Analysts said if Japan did discharge the wastewater into the Pacific Ocean as planned, the Pacific countries would have the right to claim damages.

Japan decided to just dump the wastewater into the ocean in order to save trouble and money, at the price of transferring nuclear contamination to the whole world, which is extremely irresponsible and selfish. South Pacific countries have suffered enough from nuclear contamination. From 1946 to 1958, the US conducted 67 nuclear weapon tests on the Marshall Islands, the aftermaths of which are still haunting the local residents in the form of radioactive poisoning, contamination of marine species, and leak from radwaste landfill.

The Fukushima nuclear station had the highest-level nuclear accident that produced an enormous amount of nuclear wastewater – more than 1.3 million tons in storage right now. Even though Japanese politicians claimed that the wastewater is safe enough for drinking after being treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), that’s simply not true.

A Japanese NGO recently released an article saying that treated nuclear wastewater still contains 64 kinds of radioactive substances, including tritium, which, once released into the ocean, will contaminate the marine environment and spread through the food chain, till eventually taking a toll on human health and the ecological environment. A report released by Greenpeace, an international environmental protection organization, showed that the technology currently adopted by Japan cannot get rid of the Sr90 and C14 in the wastewater, which are even more damaging than tritium with their half-life of 50 years and 5,730 years respectively.

It’s foreseeable that dumping Fukushima’s more than 1.3 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean is a murderous move for people living along the ocean and will put the marine ecology at stake with irreversible outcomes. A renowned environmental protection organization of Pacific island countries said that such an irresponsible move of transboundary pollution is no different from waging a nuclear war against the people and the islands in the Pacific region.

As a contracting party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Japan has knowingly violated them all by making such a dangerous decision. Without exhausting all safe means of disposal, disclosing all information, or fully consulting with surrounding countries and international organizations, the Japanese government went ahead and unilaterally decided to dump its wastewater into the ocean in a flagrant attempt to pass on the disastrous consequences to other Pacific countries. Those countries have every right to defend their rights and interests through legal means.

In fact, there are already precedents for claims of this kind. For instance, the International Arbitration Tribunal ruled in 1938 and 1941 that Canada’s Trail Smelter should compensate America’s State of Washington for the damages caused by the SO2 it emitted. The “Trail Smelter case” is generally considered the basis for holding countries committing transboundary pollution accountable. Countries along the Pacific Ocean can totally refer to it and pursue claims against Japan after scientifically measuring the damages imposed upon them.

The ocean is the common wealth and symbiotic home for humanity. Dumping nuclear wastewater into it is not Japan’s internal affair. Right now the IAEA is still conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the wastewater at Fukushima, and Japan’s pushing for the dumping plan reveals its intention to make it a fait accompli regardless of the concerns of other parties. Japan’s egregious atrocities in history have already caused horrendous miseries to the surrounding countries. Does it plan to add another entry to its infamous track record now?

Editor’s note: Originally published on news.cri.cn, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online.

http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/view/2023-01/06/content_10210311.htm

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan urged to take calls from intl community seriously over its dumping of nuclear-contaminated water

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning

Jan 04, 2023

The dumping of nuclear-contaminated water is not Japan’s own business, and China is urging Japan to take seriously the just calls from the international community, consult on related issues with stakeholders including its neighbors and Pacific Island countries, deal with the contaminated water in a transparent, scientific and safe way, and accept supervision from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

Mao Ning, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remarks in response to a question about the IAEA’s review of Japan’s discharge plan at Wednesday’s routine press briefing. 

An IAEA task force established to review the safety of Japan’s plans to discharge the water treated by the ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the sea has recently released its third report. 

The report sets out how the task force is conducting its independent checks of key data related to the monitoring of the safety of the treated water before, during and after its discharge. 

But Mao stressed the report did not come to a conclusion on key questions such as authenticity, accuracy and whether data was collected in accordance with standards, which are issues of concern. 

The report once again shows that the international community is completely reasonable in harboring concerns over data accuracy, effectiveness of treatment equipment, and the uncertainty of its environmental impact. 

It is reckless and irresponsible for Japan to approve the plan to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and forcibly advance preparations for the discharge when the IAEA technical task force is still working and has not drawn any conclusions, Mao said.

According to Japan’s plan, it will start to dump the nuclear-contaminated water from the spring of 2023 despite anger and strong opposition from South Pacific countries. 

Adding to their skepticism is the bad record of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) which operates the Fukushima plant. The company indicated that the vast majority of the wastewater had already been treated until 2018, when it acknowledged that only a fifth had been treated sufficiently. 

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202301/1283175.shtml

January 6, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment