CND condemns the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power’s (Tepco) plan to dump into the ocean over 1 million tonnes of treated radioactive water from the defunct Fukushima nuclear plant – despite local and international opposition. 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said earlier this week that Tepco could begin the long-awaited dump from Thursday, “weather and ocean conditions permitting”. Kishida’s announcement comes shortly after a tri-lateral summit between Japan, South Korea, and the US at Camp David, where leaders discussed closer security cooperation in the region.

While South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said his government found no problems with the “scientific and technical aspects” of the plan, opposition parties and much of South Korean civil society have been vocal in their opposition. 

Greenpeace Japan, meanwhile, warned the release “disregards scientific evidence, violates the human rights…is non-compliant with international maritime law…ignores its people’s concerns, including fishermen.” They added that the Japanese government and Tepco’s decommissioning plan for Fukushima was severely flawed and noted that there was still “sufficient water storage space” at the site.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“The Japanese government and Tepco have gone ahead with this flawed plan despite concerns by local fishers, residents, and neighbouring countries. The Fukushima disaster is a stark warning of the devastating consequences that natural disasters – which are on the increase – can have when they lead to a nuclear accident. Instead of wasting billions of pounds on more nuclear power, governments should be investing in renewable energy solutions that don’t come with such risks.”

CND Vice-President and scientific advisor Dr Ian Fairlie said: 

“Most people are unaware that the Fukushima disaster in 2011 is still occurring 12 years later, in that over 200 tonnes of water are being sprayed daily on the wrecked remains of Fukushima’s 3 destroyed reactors to keep their nuclear fuels from melting further. Much debate continues on the health effects of the catastrophe as spikes in the numbers of cases of rare paediatric thyroid cancer have occurred in Fukushima Prefecture – similar to the epidemic seen following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. However the Japanese government and TEPCO refuse to accept that these increased cases were due to the nuclear accident. A
debate also exists about the safety or otherwise of the proposed dumping of tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean – despite world-wide protests. Tritium – the radioactive isotope of hydrogen – is a hazardous radionuclide even at low concentrations – as shown in many radiobiological studies.”

Image credit: Greg Webb  / IAEA