Taiwanese groups oppose Japan’s decision on radioactive water

15-Apr-2021 Intellasia | FocusTaiwan | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Anti-nuclear groups have expressed their opposition to Japan’s decision to dump tonnes of treated radioactive water from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, while Taiwan’s government expressed its concern.

Japan’s government announced following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that it had decided to release the treated wastewater into the ocean, but that the actual discharge of the water will not begin for another two years.

The National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform (NNAAP), a nationwide anti-nuclear alliance of more than 100 groups, issued a statement later Tuesday declaring its strong opposition to the Japanese government’s decision.

The group said the radioactive water could cause environmental contamination when released into a marine environment, and it urged Japan not to choose an option that was financially expedient but potentially threatened the environment, the fishing industry and human health in neighbouring countries.

Japanese civic groups suggested other options for storing the wastewater on land long-term, including large tank storage and mortar solidification, but the Japanese government made its decision without any thorough discussion of other approaches, the group said.

The treated water will contain radioactive tritium, a byproduct of nuclear reactors, and could have an adverse impact on human health through the consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish if discharged into the sea, the NNAAP said.

Jennifer Morgan, the executive director at Greenpeace International, also condemned the Japanese government’s decision.

“In the 21st century, when the planet and in particular the world’s oceans are facing so many challenges and threats, it is an outrage that the Japanese government and TEPCO think they can justify the deliberate dumping of nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean,” she said.

“The decision is a violation of Japan’s legal obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and will be strongly resisted over the coming months,” Morgan said.

Kazue Suzuki, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, argued that the Japanese government has discounted the radiation risks.

Suzuki said that instead of using the best available technology to minimise radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, the Japanese government chose the cheapest option.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou said during a regular press briefing Tuesday that MOFA is highly concerned about the latest development.

Ou said Taiwan has reminded the Japanese side to consider the interests of Taiwan’s people and inform Taiwan of its plans in accordance with a memorandum on nuclear and radiation safety signed between the two sides in 2014.

According to Ou, Tokyo notified Taipei of the decision prior to its formal announcement and pledged to keep the international community updated on any further developments.

Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council (AEC) also expressed its concern, but said that if Japan really goes ahead with the decision, it should measure radiation-associated changes in public sea waters and marine species near Taiwan and provide the data to the AEC.



Category: Taiwan

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