Pacific Collective nixes Japan's plan to dump radioactive waste in Pacific Ocean
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues is opposing a Japanese company's plan to release nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean beginning 2023.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, plans to discharge 1.28 million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
"The Japanese government and Tepco must abandon the use of the Pacific Ocean as a dumping ground for its radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, to ensure that no further harm is caused to the Pacific Ocean, its environment and its peoples," the Collective said in a statement.
"The Pacific is not and must not become the dumping ground for nuclear wastes," it added.
The Collective, a coalition that represents various organizations in the Pacific region, said Tepco and other relevant Japanese government agencies have "wrongly prioritized convenience and costs over the short-term and long-term environmental and human cost of their planned actions."
The Collective called on Tepco and the Japanese government to reassess their entire decommissioning plan for the wrecked Fukushima.
The plant was severely damaged in a 2011 magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami that left about 20,000 people in northeast Japan dead or missing.
The coalition refuted the veracity of premises stated by Tepco's radiological impact assessment, which was released on Nov. 17.
The Collective urged Tepco to abandon its plan to use the advanced liquid processing system method to “treat highly radioactive wastewater to safe levels” for discharge into the Pacific Ocean.
Instead, the coalition added, Tepco must develop an alternative plan that will cause no harm to people or the environment and is compliant with
international laws and treaties that seek to keep the Pacific nuclear-free.
The Collective asked Japan to seek an independent expert review of its wastewater discharge plan that will be overseen by the Pacific Islands Forum.
"No proposal for the discharge of such large volumes of liquid radioactive waste should be permitted in the absence of an ocean-wide environmental impact assessment and the collection of relevant radiological baseline data for all areas likely to be affected," the Collective said.
The coalition urged Japan to consider all appropriate alternative measures "to prevent, abate and eliminate to the fullest extent possible, the pollution of the Pacific Ocean by radioactive water, including exploring all options for maintaining storage facilities on land for the radioactive wastewater."
The coalition said an urgent comprehensive reassessment of the decommissioning plan is necessary as the first step. "This should include all alternative options for safe containment, storage as well as identification of technologies that can safely treat radioactive material including the radioactive wastewater proposed to be discharged into the Pacific Ocean under the current proposal," the coalition said,
The Collective's statement was endorsed by Youngsolwara Pacific, Marshall Islands Students Association, Fiji Pacific Conference of Churches, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations and Pacific Network on Globalisation.