More than one million tonnes of radioactively contaminated water has already accumulated at the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site, stored in steel tanks and increasing in volume daily — by some accounts one new tank is added every four days. Space to store it is rapidly running out. So far, the only “plan” Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has come up with to deal with the problem is to dump the water into the Pacific Ocean.
The water is accumulating in part because about 150 tonnes of groundwater seeps daily through cracks in the stricken reactors’ foundations, thereby becoming contaminated with radioactive isotopes. In addition, water flows down the surrounding hillsides onto the site, picks up radiation, and must be captured and stored.
TEPCO has so far been pumping the contaminated water through a filtering system that can only remove cesium and strontium. But the process creates a highly toxic sludge as a byproduct, which also has to be stored in sealed canisters on site.
Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, cannot of course be removed from water. Hence the plan to dump the radioactive (tritiated) water into the ocean. This move has long been strongly opposed by people from many spectra in Japan. A “Resolution Against the Ocean Dumping of Radioactive Tritium-contaminated Waste Water From the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” has been initiated by physics Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, Kosaku Yamada, under the auspices of the Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposures (ACSIR). It has already garnered signatures from 280 individuals and 35 organizations. The Resolution is reproduced further below.
The goal of the resolution is to raise public awareness about the prolonged serious health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that the Japanese government is taking every step to conceal.
Of course, part of the urgency of “getting rid” of the drums of radioactive water is to present a “problem solved” face to the world before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which, shockingly, intends to hold the baseball and softball events inside the Fukushima Prefecture.
To counter this misleading propaganda and shine a more international spotlight on the dumping plan, the ACSIR are calling on the international community to sign on to their resolution as well. They urge us to lend our voices and insist that the Japanese authorities not dump tritiated water into the ocean. You can join this effort by sending your contact details directly to Professor Yamada at: