Guam Sen. Telena Nelson has joined other Pacific Island leaders in opposing Japan’s plan to discharge radioactive waste from the Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean.
“I stand in protest to this decision, as it not only bears direct short and long-term consequences to Guam and Japan’s neighboring islands, but as a hub for international relations,” said Nelson, oversight chair of federal and foreign relations.
Japan last month announced plans to dump more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the ruined Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean off its east coast.
The plan is being protested by neighbors including China, South Korea and the Pacific Island nations.
“With the rise in ocean acidity and temperatures, the addition of radioactive waste could have potentially detrimental effects on the climate as a whole,” Nelson said.
In an April 21 letter to the consul-general of Japan, Nelson cited expert information from various academic studies, stating that peak radiation levels in the Pacific would remain higher than levels prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Nelson said the addition of radioactive waste could compound the accumulation of pre-existing organic pollutants at the lowest layer of the ocean.
“Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands utilize the ocean not just as a source of sustenance, but also as a definition of our way of life,” Nelson said. “The dumping of radioactive waste would only impede our efforts to utilize marine life resources that benefit our environment, our economy, and our culture.”
Nelson is requesting Japan to reconsider its options in light of the scientific studies and the people of the Pacific. The senator is drafting further communications to the United Nations expressing the concerns of the people of Guam and will additionally highlight concerns in forthcoming legislation.