The Fukushima nuclear power plant was heavily damaged due to the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Japan wants to dump its water into the Pacific Ocean to shut down the plant.
But many countries associated with the Pacific Ocean fear its loss.
A nuclear power plant in Japan has been closed for 12 years and its wastewater must be disposed of. Japan has also obtained permission from the International Atomic Energy Agency to discharge this water into the Pacific Ocean. They have security concerns about this proposal. The International Atomic Energy Agency says it will have negligible radioactive effects on people and the environment. But even after the approval of this proposal from Japan, it opposes which many environmental supporters, including countries like China and South Korea, are also protesting. But whether those fears are justified, or whether the energy agency’s statement is false, that’s a question.
Authorization recently obtained
Japan received the clearance from the International Atomic Energy Agency this month. Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the agency has had an ongoing presence at the designated site and will continue to do so. Not only that, the agency will also continuously review and evaluate this program.
earthquake and tsunami
Giving the plan’s final report to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, he said it was a thoroughly detailed, unbiased, objective and scientifically sound assessment. But China, South Korea and other Pacific island countries oppose this approval and Japan’s proposal. In 2011, three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were hit by a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.
what water is it
The tsunami damaged the plant’s electrical and cooling systems. But it had become the biggest nuclear accident in the world since the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Russia. According to the media, a lot of water came out of the cooling system of the three destroyed reactors, while the rest of the rain and groundwater is the water that reaches the infected site.
In 2011, three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant were damaged in the tsunami. (Representative photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Why is it necessary to pour water
The nuclear power plant discharges 100 cubic meters of wastewater every day. At present, 13 lakh cubic meters of water have been stored in about a thousand tanks at the site and their capacity will be exhausted by 2024. In such a situation, before the amount of water increases and that the state of the plant does not get out of control, Japan will have to leave this water somewhere so that the nuclear plant can be closed.
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what kind of water is it
How this water will be discarded is also not a simple task. The contaminated water came into contact with the reactor fuel rods after the distillation process. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) does the work of filtering this contaminated water to rid it of isotopes. According to the BBC, only carbon-14 and the radioactive isotope of hydrogen tritium remain in the leftover water, which is very difficult to separate from water.
The water storage capacity in the cooling system of the Fukushima nuclear power plant is about to be filled. (Representative photo: Wikimedia Commons)
how to leave it
TEPCO will greatly dilute this water before disposing of it, which will reduce the amount of tritium in the water to a regulatory limit. Japan says the treated water will be released into the Pacific Ocean through a pipeline a kilometer from the plant site, and the process could take decades after the water leaves the plant. This is how tritium water is released all over the world.
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Some countries and fishermen oppose this decision by Japan. The Peruvian fishing industry, as well as some members of the Japanese fishing community, have expressed concern about the discharge of this water into the Pacific Ocean, as they believe it will affect their livelihoods. Many have questioned whether this water is not infected. These people claim to have learned from certain sources that even after treatment, the water is contaminated with radioactivity. In Japan, the Fukushima fishermen’s union also opposes this move by the government. China and South Korea have expressed concern about this.
Keywords: environment, Japanese, research, Science, world
FIRST POST: July 06, 2023, 1:11 p.m. IST