Japan has announced that it will start releasing more than one million tonnes of treated and diluted radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years. The decision has sparked controversy and opposition from the local fishing industry, as well as neighboring countries such as China and South Korea.
The water comes from the cooling process of the damaged reactors, which suffered a meltdown after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The water is stored in tanks at the plant, but the space is running out. The Japanese government says the water will be treated to remove most radioactive elements, except for tritium, which is considered harmless in low doses. The water will also be diluted to meet international standards before being discharged.
The plan has been endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which says it is safe and in line with global practices. The IAEA will also monitor and review the implementation of the plan.
However, the plan has faced strong resistance from local fishermen, who fear that the release of the water will damage their livelihoods and reputation. They say that consumers will shun their products, even if they are proven to be safe. They also worry about the long-term environmental impact of the water on marine life and ecosystems.
The plan has also drawn criticism and condemnation from China and South Korea, which share maritime borders with Japan. They accuse Japan of being irresponsible and unilateral, and of posing a threat to regional and global health and safety. They have called for more transparency and consultation from Japan, and for independent scientific verification of the water’s safety. They have also expressed their intention to take action to protect their interests and rights.
Japan has defended its plan as the most feasible and realistic option, given the limited storage capacity and the need to decommission the plant. It has also stressed that the water will be released gradually and cautiously and that it will not pose any risk to human health or the environment. It has pledged to communicate and cooperate with other countries and stakeholders, and to provide accurate and timely information on the plan.