The government and environmental groups yesterday reiterated their objection to Japan’s plan to discharge radioactive water into the ocean, calling on Tokyo to consider other alternatives.
The Japanese government said it would start releasing treated water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant into the ocean several years from now.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Atomic Energy Council have repeatedly expressed their concerns over the matter, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday.
The ministry also relayed local environmental groups’ concerns to Tokyo in the hope that it would listen to different opinions, she said.
The Japanese government notified Taiwan before announcing its decision to discharge contaminated water, based on a 2014 memorandum of understanding on bilateral information exchange about nuclear power regulation, Ou said.
The Japanese government promised it would dilute and treat the water in accordance with International Commission on Radiological Protection standards before discharging it into the ocean, she said.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan would continue to relay Taiwan’s concerns to Tokyo and collect pertinent information for the council’s reference, Ou said.
The council expressed its regrets over Japan’s decision.
If Tokyo carries out the plan with no regard for the concerns of its neighbors, it must measure changes in the level of radioactivity in international waters, including near Taiwan, and provide the council with the results, it said.
Taiwan and Japan should boost technical and information exchange over seawater monitoring, it added.
The council has formed an interagency group to draw up response plans, such as building a forecast system to predict the circulation of contaminated water in the ocean, and integrating domestic resources to monitor the nation’s marine environment and fisheries, it said.
It has set up 33 stations to monitor tritium levels in seawater, it added.
Most radioactive isotopes can be removed from wastewater, but not tritium, said the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform, which consists of several environmental groups.
The power plant’s storage tanks hold nearly 1.24 million tonnes of radioactive water containing tritium, with estimated levels of radioactivity reaching 860 trillion becquerels, it said.
The stored water also contains other radioactive substances, such as strontium-90, cesium-137 and iodine-129, it added.
Discharging the radioactive water might take three to four decades, which would pose a great threat to the interconnected marine environment on a long-term basis, it said, urging the government to continue pressuring Tokyo into adopting other options.
Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan condemned the plan, saying it is in contravention of Tokyo’s legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The group has suggested that wastewater from the power plant continue to be stored in tanks until a method is developed to remove all radioactive elements.
Greenpeace said Taipei should conduct an evaluation on the possible effects of the contaminated water on Taiwan’s fishing industry.
Additional reporting by Lo Chi and CNA
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