Dumping contaminated water from Fukushima plant into ocean – the lesser evil? | New Eastern Outlook

dumping-contaminated-water-from-fukushima-plant-into-ocean-–-the-lesser-evil?-|-new-eastern-outlook

11-03-20 09:18:00,

In February this year, a number of media outlets reported that the Japanese authorities intended to drain more than one million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. According to some experts, this method is the lesser evil because the ocean is able to dilute contaminated water, thus making it safe for people.

Nevertheless, this proposal has already caused discontent, both in Japan and in its neighboring countries.

The Japanese government has not yet officially announced this plan, but the intentions of the Shinzo Abe administration to follow through with this idea are becoming increasingly clear, especially considering the media campaign launched by the authorities in support of the proposal to release the contaminated Fukushima water into the ocean.

Let us remind the reader that 9 years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima power plant, but three of its damaged reactors are far from being dismantled. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, delivered an ultimatum to the Japanese government demanding that it resolve the problem with radioactive water immediately. Every day, cooling the molten reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yields an additional 150 cubic meters of contaminated water containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) and other chemicals. The issue concerns the water originally used in the reactors’ cooling circuits during the disaster, and that used to cool the wrecked plant and the remaining fuel. A significant amount of water from underground sources flowing through the land towards the ocean is also being polluted. In total, TEPCO is currently storing 1.1 million cubic meters of radioactive water in one thousand special tanks on the territory of the nuclear power plant (NPP), but based on company’s estimates, it will run out of space for the contaminated water by the summer of 2022. TEPCO announced this in August 2019 and made a proposal to pump the contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi NPP into the Pacific Ocean.

The operator has so far failed to convince local fishermen and residents that draining water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean is the best solution. All other ways of resolving the problem, according to TEPCO management, are difficult.

The Japanese government has also not responded as yet to TEPCO’s ultimatum,

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‘We will not be world’s dumping ground’: Malaysia to return 3,000 tonnes of waste

‘we-will-not-be-world’s-dumping-ground’:-malaysia-to-return-3,000-tonnes-of-waste

28-05-19 11:16:00,

Malaysia has announced it will send 3,000 metric tonnes of non-recyclable plastic back to developed nations that illegally shipped it there, drawing a line in the sand and highlighting the world’s major waste problem.

Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste would be sent back from illegal processing facilities in Malaysia following a major government clampdown in recent months.

“Malaysia will not be a dumping ground to the world… we will fight back. Even though we are a small country, we can’t be bullied by developed countries,” Yeo said, as cited by the AP.

The Malaysian government has shut down over 150 illegal recycling facilities since last July.

Among the countries responsible for the waste, showcased at a press conference held by Yeo, were: the UK (cables), the US, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China (electronic and household waste) and Australia (contaminated milk cartons) among other nations.

The vast trash troves will be shipped within two weeks from a port outside Kuala Lumpur.

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The build-up of waste and the creation of a major illegal recycling industry in the country are a knock-on effect of China’s ban on the importation of plastic waste earlier this year.

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg (due) to the banning of plastic waste by China,” Yeo added.

“We urge the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping the rubbish out to the developing countries.”

In another high profile case, the Philippines and Canada have also been embroiled in a long-raging row over illegal dumping for several years.

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