Inspenet, August 24, 2023.
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the company responsible for the nuclear power plant in northeast Japan, announced last Wednesday that it had begun the final stages of preparation to discharge the water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean .
TEPCO reported that it transferred approximately 1 m 3 of this water, previously filtered to remove radioactive elements, excluding tritium, and that it has mixed this amount with 1,200 m 3 of seawater.
The concentration of tritium in this mixture was evaluated to ensure that it was below the radioactivity level established for its release into the Pacific Ocean, which is 1,500 becquerels (Bq) per liter, according to TEPCO.
According to specialists, only high concentrations of tritium represent a health risk.
Over the next three decades, Japan intends to release more than 1.3 million m3 of water from the Fukushima power plant, coming from rainwater and groundwater, as well as from the injections necessary to cool the cores of the reactors that suffered meltdowns due to the tsunami of March 2011 that devastated the northeast coast of the country.
Despite the validation and supervision of the Japanese plan by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), China has not been reassured and, since July, has imposed restrictions on the importation of Japanese products. In line with this move, Hong Kong also implemented similar restrictions on Tuesday.
Likewise, Tokyo has indicated that radioactive discharges from Chinese plants considerably exceed the levels expected in Fukushima, which leads analysts to think that Beijing’s position is probably linked to the existing tensions between China and Japan.
The discharge of water from the Fukushima plant began
The release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean has sparked immediate reactions and outrage from China.
Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong has summoned Japan’s ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi to make a formal statement after Japan’s announcement, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
“The ocean is the property of all mankind, it is not the place where Japan can arbitrarily release polluted water,” Chinese diplomatic spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Tuesday.
Both the Japanese government and TEPCO, the company responsible for the plant, affirm, backed by the United Nations nuclear agency, that after being treated, the water will not pose a threat to health or the environment, since it has been removed most radioactive substances .
However, the local fishing community is concerned about the negative reputational impact of their products. In addition, both China and the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong have established bans on the importation of food from Japan.