A worker, wearing protective suits and masks, takes notes in front of storage tanks for radioactive water at Tokyo Electric Power Co's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town
A worker takes notes in front of storage tanks for radioactive water at Tokyo Electric Power Co's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Photo: REUTERS/File
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Micronesia denounces Japan's plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific

48 Comments

The president of the Pacific island state of Micronesia denounced at the United Nations on Thursday Japan's decision to discharge what he called nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean.

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, David Panuelo said Micronesia had the "gravest concern" about Japan’s decision to release the so-called Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) water into the ocean.

"We cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent," he said. "The impacts of this decision are both transboundary and intergenerational in nature. As Micronesia’s head of state, I cannot allow the destruction of our ocean resources that support the livelihood of our people."

Japan said in July that its nuclear regulators had approved a plan to release into the Pacific ocean water used to cool reactors in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The water has been stored in huge tanks in the plant, and amounted to more than 1.3 million tons by July.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said at that time that regulators deemed it safe to release the water, which will still contain traces of the radioactive isotope tritium after treatment.

Asked about Panuelo's statement, Yukiko Okano, the ministry's deputy press secretary, said in reference to Fukushima that Japan would try its best "to gain understanding from the international community about the safety of our activities there."

The plant operator, Tokyo Power Electric Company (TEPCO), plans to filter the contaminated water to remove harmful isotopes apart from tritium, which is hard to remove. Then it will be diluted and released to free up plant space to allow the decommissioning of Fukushima to continue.

The plan has encountered stiff resistance from regional fishing unions which fear its impact on their livelihoods. Japan's neighbors China, South Korea and Taiwan have also voiced concern.

Panuelo also highlighted the threat posed by climate change, to which Pacific island states are particularly vulnerable. He called on geopolitical rivals the United States and China to consider it "a non-political and non-competitive issue for cooperation."

"For the briefest period of time, it seemed as if the Americans, with whom Micronesia shares an Enduring Partnership, and the Chinese, with whom Micronesia shares a Great Friendship, were starting to work together on this issue, despite increases in tension in other areas," he said. "Now, they are no longer speaking to each other on this important issue."

China announced in August it was halting bilateral cooperation with the United States in areas including defense, narcotics, transnational crime and climate change in protest against a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Panuelo's remarks coincided with a meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted of the Partners in the Blue Pacific countries, which include Japan with the aim of better coordinating assistance to the region in the face of competition from China.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
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Approved by the regulators ?

Stinks of corruption!

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

If the water is so safe as the government regs. claim, Why not drill injection wells and keep it in Japan?

Answer: It's not, that's why they want to dump it in the Pacific and let the currents take it away.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

Another knee jerk reaction to anything with the word nuclear in it, lacking rationality or scientific basis.

Yes there is residual tritium, which compared to the vast amount of water in the pacific will not be detectable, and wholly ignoring two salient (though inconvenient to his diatribe) fact, sea water is already radioactive, and the half life of tritium is only about 12 years.

While it would be better if the tritium could be removed, if properly dispersed it becomes meaningless.

1 ( +17 / -16 )

One has to remember who the vey close friend of the Micronesians are.

Communist China.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

TEPCO has a LONG history of lies and corruption. The water does not only contain Tritium, but also much more dangerous isotopes of Strontium and Cesium. Concern for the vast Pacific to dilute it to nothing is irrational.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

"Japan's Foreign Ministry said at that time that regulators deemed it safe to release the water"

Oh, well then it simply must be so! Same as it was safe to build the NPP on top of a fault line to begin with, and same as nuclear power is cheap, safe, and convenient. Only 40 more years until they can decommission the plant... maybe... and it's only cost how many trillions so far?

If Japan dumps it into the water, all exports from Japan of seafood and other marine products should be banned by all nations.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

Japan has enough land to drill on the ground and bury the water there.It is very easy and no one will complain.Why insist on dumping it into the pacific?

Or since they claim it is safe after filtering the isotopes,they can build swimming pools around Japan with the water.What's the problem?

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Fightoo,so what,this will flow directly in Tokyo bay

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"We cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent," he said. "The impacts of this decision are both transboundary and intergenerational in nature. As Micronesia’s head of state, I cannot allow the destruction of our ocean resources that support the livelihood of our people."

He should have made clear the harm tritium has already caused to people and the environment

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Thank you Micronesia for having the guts to raise this hugely impactful issue.

Unfortunately Japan Inc. will likely suck air through their teeth, place their concerns into the "too hard" basket and continue dumping nuclear waste into the ocean anyway.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Japan has enough land to drill on the ground and bury the water there.It is very easy and no one will complain.Why insist on dumping it into the pacific?

It's probably hard for them because they are not as smart as you

How would you recommend doing it?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Yes there is residual tritium, which compared to the vast amount of water in the pacific will not be detectable

Sure, but they said the mercury released by Chisso in Minamata was safe too. Trouble is, once it was consumed by bacteria, it became methylmercury and we know what the consequences of that were.

Whats tritium (a hydrogen isotope) going to become once its part of the food chain?

Taken from the Journal of Radiation Research, Volume 62, Issue 4, July 2021, Pages 557–563

"There are currently no data on cancer risk of tritium for humans."

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The water has been mostly decontaminated, and it's gotta go somewhere, either in a controlled way or accidentally. And the ocean streams bring it north-east towards Alaska, not to Micronesia. This seems like a ply for foreign aid.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

I guess ccp's blood money speaks.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Oh boy if everyone took the time to understand what chemicals the countries surrounding Japan dump in the ocean daily that have far more serious impacts on the health of the ocean. The horror ~ the horror.

drill and dump in a hole?

Seriously? That would impact potable ground water which is a resource for people which ( duh ) consume it.

We don’t drink ocean water.

For those opposed to dumping it ~ do the research and then do the math.

Yeah it’s sucks but this is just politics of Micronesia calling for attention. Which alas it will not matter once they are under the water from climate change. That sucks too!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

If Japan dumps it into the water, all exports from Japan of seafood and other marine products should be banned by all nations.

Should that ban apply to other countries that release tritiated water into the sea?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

At sometime in the far future this mess will come back and HUNT our grandchildren and many future generations to come, let us not kid ourselves this is a disaster in the making anyway you look at it.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Should that ban apply to other countries that release tritiated water into the sea?

Japan only obviously.

It's only bad if it's Japan

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Taiwan is very friendly with Japan but even they are concerned, not just Communist China so you know they are very much against the idea. Tells you a lot.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

We don't really know what Japan will be dumping in the ocean. They say it is water with tritium but who really knows what else will or is in that water.

The contaminated water should be kept in Japan and use for the crops or in the rice fields.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Not only should Micronesia be worrying, denouncing and protesting the unknown danger of releasing Fukushima's poisoned nuclear waters into the Pacific.

All countries with coasts around the enormous Pacific Ocean and the Hawaiian and, all islands in the Pacific should be protesting to stop this proposed brainless action by Japan. In fact the whole world could be and should be protesting. All fish and creatures in the Pacific could be and, would be affected. And who known what might happen to people who eat Fukushima-poisoned fish? Hospitals in countries all around the enormous Pacific Ocean and all islands in the Pacific Ocean would be overwhelmed by countless cancer patients. And the New Fukushima Cancer could be incurable.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

All countries with coasts around the enormous Pacific Ocean and the Hawaiian and, all islands in the Pacific should be protesting to stop this proposed brainless action by Japan. In fact the whole world could be and should be protesting.

Yes all countries should strongly demand that Japan do the same with it's nuclear wastewater as the other countries do with theirs.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What happened to the supposed filtering technogy developed in Japan that was in the news before.

It's supposed to be able to separate tritiated water from ordinary water

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anyway a solution could be Japan making arrangements with South Korea China and Taiwan. Japan sends the nuclear wastewater to them and then south Korea China and Taiwan will release the nuclear wastewater into the sea.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Gambare Nippon:

One has to remember who the vey close friend of the Micronesians are.

Communist China.

I tell you what. Why don't you drink that water if you think it's safe?

It's not just the Chinese or Micronesians who don't want to see this 'safe' water being released throughout the global oceans.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan should apologize for polluting the Pacific Ocean!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Puke

I tell you what. Why don't you drink that water if you think it's safe?

Do YOU drink sea water? Even from the oceans around your own country?

Are ALL water released into the ocean from other countries readily drinkable?

Heck, even tap from many countries is not safe to drink.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

*tap water

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I didn't know there is a country called "Micronesia". Its actually the "Federal States of Micronesia", and covers only part of the region called Micronesia.

Like many in Japan, I've been to Guam and Saipan, which are in Micronesia the region. There are many "Micronesia" named businesses and parks there, but those two islands are not in Micronesia the country. It's all a bit confusing. Guam has three US bases.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Naturally occurring tritium concentration in the oceans is approximately 1,000 times the concentration to be released.

Science is more important than feelings.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Go take samples of the waste water of an average production company in china and get back to me, then we’ll talk….(that dumps right into their rivers).

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Peter Neil

Naturally occurring tritium concentration in the oceans is approximately 1,000 times the concentration to be released.

There are a lot more stuff in the ALPS treated Fukushima treated water than tritium, namely Plutonium, Strontium, etc. admitted by TEPCO themselves.

The only acceptable way of handling Fukushima radioactive water is evaporation.

https://www.science.org/content/article/japan-plans-release-fukushima-s-contaminated-water-ocean

But in addition to tritium, more dangerous isotopes with longer radioactive lifetimes, such as ruthenium, cobalt, strontium, and plutonium, sometimes slip through the ALPS process, something TEPCO only acknowledged in 2018. The company now says these additional nuclides are present in 71% of the tanks. "These radioactive isotopes behave differently than tritium in the ocean and are more readily incorporated into marine biota or seafloor sediments," says Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Samit Basu,

The only acceptable way of handling Fukushima radioactive water is evaporation.

And allow the the tritium to float in the air?

Your link is from a few years ago. It also says, "The government official says the Fukushima water will be "repurified" to meet regulatory standards for these nuclides".

My understanding is that the "repurification" has been done, at least for the water that is to be released. Do you know anything different?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Liability laws in the US,are open for incident like this

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"...apart from tritium, which is hard to remove."

Perhaps they should have all concerned nations conduct separate tests and see if results match up for the decontaminated waters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If Biden say no,it a no go

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Wow even Japan's BFF, Taiwan, voiced concern. That really is saying something and Japan should reconsider how to handle the waste water.

If it's safe, just dump it in our own land.

No? Then it's not safe.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

TEPCO has a LONG history of lies and corruption. The water does not only contain Tritium, but also much more dangerous isotopes of Strontium and Cesium. Concern for the proposition of the vast Pacific to "dilute it to nothing" is not irrational.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Kuruki,they found radiation linked to Tepco in California

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Then it will be diluted

It can only be partially diluted because it is impossible to fully dilute the contaminated water.

It's called a suspension !

The use of the word dilution is a total lie designed to try and hide what they are doing.

Which is the contamination of the ecosystems.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The tritium can most definitely be separated.

It should be a crime to dump anything hazardous into the ocean.

However Japan has dumped biological and chemical munitions into the oceans from it's chemical factories after the JIA expansion efforts were halted also.

You can look it up

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OSAKA -- A team of researchers from Kindai University and private companies in western Japan has developed a new filter enabling the removal of water containing radioactive tritium.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's called a suspension

The tritiated water?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Discussions sounds mostly ludicrous because most seems tohave no idea what tritium is

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Also all countries dump nuclearwater into the oceans including south Korea China and Taiwan

0 ( +1 / -1 )

England dumps a higher concentration of tritium contaminated water every single year from reactors.

Science is based on evidence and not the ramblings of the scientifically illiterate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it's safe, just dump it in our own land.

You're ok with that?

It's settled then land or ground it is.

Do you know where it will go if you dump it on the ground?

You're unable to think that far ahead?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There must be a variety of lakes in Japan that can be used for the disposal of this water.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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