Japan begins this Thursday the discharge of water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific despite protests

The Japanese government will start dumping treated and radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, its prime minister has announced, ignoring regional and national objections. He plans to release more than a million tons of water into the sea.

The decision has given rise protests by both environmental groups in Japan and neighboring countries, as well as the domestic fishing industry.

Fukushima water is made up of water contaminated during the cooling process of damaged reactors and molten fuel from the nuclear accident triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunamias well as rainwater leaks in the facilities for more than ten years.

This water has been being stored in tanks after undergoing extensive processing to remove most radioactive elements, but the containers and physical storage space at the facility are reaching their limits.

Until the end of July they had stored about 1.34 million tons of treated water, around 98% of maximum capacity.

The Government and the company that owns the plant, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), have checked the “safety” of the spill and for this reason they have decided to start this week with it, said the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, after a meeting with the ministries involved in managing the atomic disaster.

The decision comes after the visit this past weekend of the president to the plant in the northeast of the country to check the state of preparations and after the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the plan.

Protests in Japan and neighboring countries

The liquid processed and diluted in seawater before it is discharged into the sea contains low amounts of tritium, a radioactive isotopeas well as other residues of radioactive materials in concentrations considered innocuous within international safety limits for the nuclear industry, according to the IAEA.

Despite this argument, the country’s fishing community, and especially the local fishermen of Fukushima, have shown their rejection to the initiative for the new blow that the spill would mean for the reputation of the catches in the area, already weighed down by the consequences of the nuclear crisis.

“There is no change in our position against the measure, because as we have insisted, it is a discharge into the sea that does not have the understanding of the fishermen or the Japanese people,” the Japan National Fishermen’s Federation said in a statement. .

“The only wish of the fishermen is to be able to return to fishing safely as before the accident,” the federation said.

This same Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Japanese Parliament to protest against the dumpwhich is expected to last for several decades, in parallel with the complex process of decommissioning the plant.

The environmental and anti-nuclear organization greenpeace He also criticized on Tuesday Tokyo’s decision to proceed with the spill from this Thursday, and noted that the measure “ignores scientific evidence,” in a statement.

“It violates the human rights of communities in Japan and the Pacific region and fails to comply with international maritime law. More importantly, ignores the concerns of his peopleincluding fishermen,” according to the NGO.

Hong Kong bans Japanese imports

The Hong Kong authorities announced an “indefinite” ban on imports of Japanese products from up to 10 prefectures due to the release of treated water.

The Hong Kong Secretary for the Environment and Ecology, Tse Chin Wan, has defended that Hong Kong will apply a “conservative” approach and that these are “preventive measures” to guarantee food safety and protect the public health of the population, according to the newspaper. South China Morning Post.

China criticized the decision of Hong Kong, and considers the vetoes imposed as “unjustified, unreasonable and unnecessary”.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed that it considers the decision “wrong”, since it ensures that the process will be carried out “responsibly” and under “rigorous international supervision”.

The government of South Korea, for its part, reiterated today that it sees no problems scientists or technicians in the Japanese plan to get rid of water, in contrast to the rejection of this measure that the country’s main opposition party continues to maintain, and that South Korean environmental organizations have also expressed.

The controversial spill will take place this Thursday, August 24as planned “if there are no weather or sea conditions” that prevent it, Kishida said in statements to reporters.

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