Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it

Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it

More than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan has yet to reach consensus on what to do with a million tons of radioactive water, stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks that could spill should another major earthquake or tsunami strike. Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release to the Pacific Ocean, while local fishermen and residents are balking. And what about the world? Fukushima’s radioactivity has already spread across the world and releasing more tons of contaminated waters will surely not help to stop the global nuclear cataclysm currently sweeping across our seas. STOP THIS MESS!

fukushima radioactive water
A Tepco official wearing radioactive protective gear stands in front of Advanced Liquid Processing Systems during a media tour at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in November 2014. via AP

The Japan Times explains the stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.

Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release to the Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts. Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.

Local fishermen are balking. The water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers, they say. Despite repeated tests showing most types of fish caught off Fukushima are safe to eat, diners remain hesitant. The fishermen fear any release would sound the death knell for their nascent and still fragile recovery.

“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” said Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) down the coast from the nuclear plant.

And so the tanks remain.

Fall is high season for saury and flounder, among Fukushima’s signature fish. It was once a busy time of year when coastal fishermen were out every morning.

Then came March 11, 2011. A magnitude 9 offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along the coast. The quake and massive flooding knocked out power for the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Three of the six reactors had partial meltdowns. Radiation spewed into the air, and highly contaminated water ran into the Pacific…..more here

 

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