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Discharging Treated Fukushima Waters Into The Sea Enrages Environmentalists, Local Fishing Communities

by Maureen Blas / Apr 14, 2021 06:46 AM EDT
Discharging Treated Fukushima Waters into the Sea Enrages Environmentalists, Local Fishing Communities

It's been 10 years since the most destructive earthquake hit Japan with a magnitude of 9.0. The enormous waves from the tsunami submerged the reactors, creating a major catastrophe. The Japanese government is now planning to discharge the treated Fukushima waters into the sea, which triggered protests from international environmentalists and local fishing communities. 

The Fukushima nuclear power plant is situated in Okuma town, in Fukushima Prefecture. It lies on the country's eastern coast, around 220 km (137 miles) of northeast Tokyo. 

After the disaster, the government plans to discharge over a million tons of treated Fukushima waters into the sea. This is regardless of the concern from adjacent countries and opposing environmentalists around the world, including its local fishing communities. 

While the process is yet to accomplish and may take several years to complete, it's already stimulating considerable argument locally and internationally. The Japanese government disputes that it's safe to discharge the treated Fukushima waters into the sea because it will be processed to eliminate all radioactive elements and will be diluted. 

The government said that the treated Fukushima waters would be filtered again to get rid of harmful isotopes. Afterward, it will undergo dilution to satisfy international standards before any discharge is implemented.

Local fishing communities are still not convinced and fear that the release of treated Fukushima waters into the sea will sabotage decades of work to re-establish confidence in seafood from the region.  

Fukushima local fisheries cooperative head Kanji Tachiya said, "They told us that they wouldn't release the water into the sea without the support of fishermen. We can't back this move to break that promise and release the water into the sea unilaterally."

The decision to discharge treated Fukushima waters into the sea came three months before the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games hosted by the country. Some events that were planned are as near as 60 km from the destroyed nuclear plant.

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