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Troubled Waters: Why Japan’s Decision on Radioactive Disposal Is Angering China and South Korea

Japan’s Decision to Dispose of Treated Radioactive Water in Pacific Ocean Sparks Controversy

In March 2011, Japan experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami, which resulted in significant damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The operators of the plant have recently announced their plan to initiate the process of releasing the first batch of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. This controversial decision has raised concerns globally.

The management of the nuclear plant released a video from their control room, demonstrating the activation of a seawater pump labeled “Pump A.” The video, aimed at assuaging doubts, depicted a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) employee pressing a button to start the seawater pump.

The main operator stated, “Seawater pump ‘A’ has been activated.” TEPCO later confirmed that the seawater pump was activated at 1:00 PM, three minutes after noon.

According to TEPCO, the supplementary residual pump was started 20 minutes later. Officials of the plant have assured that everything is proceeding smoothly so far.

Controversial Move Faces Opposition

The plan to discharge treated water into the ocean has faced considerable opposition within Japan and internationally. Japanese fishing communities have expressed concerns that the move could negatively impact seafood. China and South Korea also voiced their doubts, transforming the disposal plan into a political and diplomatic issue.

Japan’s Government Perspective

Japan’s government and TEPCO assert that releasing the water is essential to secure the site and prevent any potential accidents caused by the overflow of stored water. They argue that treating and diluting the water will make it even safer than before, aligning with international standards, and minimizing environmental impact.

Reassurances from Experts

Tony Hooker, the Director of the Center for Radiation Research, Education, and Innovation at the University of Adelaide, has endorsed the safety of the released water. He stated, “It is undoubtedly well within the drinking water guidelines of the World Health Organization. It is safe.”

The decision to release the treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean remains a divisive topic, eliciting concerns both domestically and internationally about its potential impact on the environment and public health.