A coalition of environmental advocates yesterday petitioned the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association to urge Japan not to proceed with a plan to discharge radioactive water into the ocean.
Following the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, the Japanese government said that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is planning to get rid of nearly 1.2 million tonnes of radioactive water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean, the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform coalition of environmental groups said.
With the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry saying it would collect opinions by tomorrow before it makes a decision, the platform delivered a petition to the association — Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan — to voice their objections.
Photo courtesy of the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform
The nearly 1.2 million tonnes of water stored at the Fukushima plant contain radioactive elements, including tritium, with the water’s total radioactive doses reaching 860 trillion becquerels, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) told a news conference outside the association’s office.
The highly concentrated radioactive elements could not even be removed by the Advanced Liquid Processing System, she said.
Japan should conduct an environmental impact assessment by enlisting international experts if it plans to dump the polluted water into the sea, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan lawyer Tsai Ya-ying (蔡雅瀅) said.
It must not persist in the plan, which could hurt the long-standing rapport between Taiwanese and Japanese, she added.
Local fishers in Fukushima have expressed their firm objection to the plan, yet the Japanese government is still considering it as an alternative, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union chairman Liu Jyh-jian (劉志堅) said.
If it insists on discharging the polluted water into the sea, it would breach the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and infringe on the rights of neighboring countries, including Taiwan, he said.
A safer alternative suggested by Friends of the Earth Japan and Japan’s Citizens Nuclear Information Center is to build larger tanks and store the water after it is turned into solid mortar, the platform said.
Greenpeace Germany senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie in November last year told a news conference in Taiwan that Tokyo’s claim that it would run out of room to store the water is not true, as TEPCO had admitted there was land available to build additional tanks.
The South Korean navy has announced research into the potential effects of radioactive water within its operational areas, though it cautiously said its study was not targeting Japan, the Korea Times reported on Tuesday.
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