The whole event
On April 13, the Japanese government held a relevant cabinet meeting and officially decided to discharge the radioactive waste water stored in the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea. It is reported that the discharge action may start as early as 2022, and the concentration of nuclear sewage will be diluted to 1/40 of the international discharge standard. Emissions will take place gradually and continue for decades until the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is dismantled in 2041-2051.
According to the computer model released in 2012 by the top marine scientific research institution, the German Helmholtz Center for Marine Research (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre). The model shows that once nuclear waste water enters the sea, it will pollute more than half of the Pacific Ocean in 57 days.
Two years after the sewage discharge, the pollution in Japan’s own seas will no longer be serious. Under the influence of ocean currents, the most polluted places will become near the west coast of the United States.
- On April 15th, the Japanese ruling party’s disaster area reconstruction meeting was dissatisfied with the government’s decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea
- According to the latest report on April 14, South Korea’s large supermarkets plan to continue not selling Japanese seafood.
- According to the latest report on April 14, a paper published by Eric Behrens, a scholar at the Helmholtz Center for Marine Research in Germany, pointed out that according to existing ocean models, after two years of sewage discharge, the pollution in Japan’s own seas will no longer be serious. Under the influence of ocean currents, the most polluted places will become near the west coast of the United States.
- On April 13th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice announcing that the agency will ban the import of certain agricultural products and dairy products from surrounding Japan affected by the Fukushima incident.
- On April 13, the second generation of victims of the nuclear explosion opposed the discharge of nuclear sewage to the sea
- On April 13, the Fukushima fisheries community strongly opposed nuclear waste water entering the sea
- On April 13, South Koreans protested in front of the Japanese Embassy
- On April 13, the U.S. supports Japan’s decision to enter the sea from Fukushima’s sewage
- On April 13, Japan requires nuclear waste water to be discharged into the ocean after 2 years
- On April 12, the Japanese Prime Minister responded to the dispute that Fukushima nuclear sewage was discharged into the sea. On April 12, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated that the solution to the increasing nuclear sewage from the Fukushima nuclear power plant could not be postponed. He said that the emission plan will be explained from a scientific point of view so as to reach an understanding of safety issues at home and abroad.
- On April 12th, Fukushima people gathered to oppose the government’s discharge of nuclear sewage into the sea
- On April 9, the Japanese government basically decided to discharge Fukushima nuclear sewage into the sea
- On April 3, the FDA issued the No. 99-33 Import Alert, prohibiting the import of agricultural products and dairy products from Japan affected by the Fukushima incident into the United States.
- On March 4, Japan’s nuclear waste water reserves are about to reach their limit. Beijing Electric Power Company now adds 140 tons of “treated water” every day. It is estimated that by September 2022, it will reach the upper limit of 1.37 million tons of storage tanks.
- On October 24, 2020, Japan postponed its decision to discharge Fukushima nuclear sewage into the sea
- On October 8, 2019, Japan’s one million tons of nuclear sewage to be discharged into the sea was opposed by many countries
- On September 16, 2019, the radiation water from Fukushima, Japan, was strongly opposed by the public
- On September 12, 2019, the Minister of Environment of Japan advocated the discharge of Fukushima nuclear sewage into the sea
How was the wastewater treated before?
For the contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company used the “Multi-Nuclide Removal Device (ALPS)” to remove the radionuclides. The device is believed to be able to remove 62 types of radioactive substances, but tritium can pass directly through it. Filters and adsorbers cannot be removed. The treated wastewater is stored in nuclear power plants. According to data from TEPCO, as of March this year, nuclear waste water has reached 1.25 million tons and is still growing at a rate of 140 tons per day. It is expected that in the summer of 2022, all storage tanks will be filled.
Why did the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan leak?
On March 11, 2011, the “March 11” Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in Japan, which triggered a huge tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, killing tens of thousands of people.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was destroyed in this major earthquake and tsunami, and dozens of radioactive materials leaked to the outside world in large quantities.
These radioactive materials contaminated everything around Fukushima, except for vegetation, soil, objects, and even fine dust and air, as well as nuclear sewage, that is, radioactive liquid. Large amounts of radioactive materials have been detected in nuclear sewage.
According to reports, nuclear radiation not only kills cells, but also has mutagenic effects. It may induce cell cancer or genetic mutations, leading to biological malformations. In a short period of time, once the ingested dose exceeds 100 mSv, the human body will be harmed, and if it exceeds 4000 mSv, it will directly cause death.
What is nuclear waste water?
How much “lethality” is a million tons of nuclear sewage?
The treated nuclear waste water contains tritium, cesium 134, cobalt 60, carbon 14, strontium 90 and many other radioactive substances that are harmful to humans and the living environment. The half-life of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is 5370 years. Therefore, it can exist in the environment for thousands of years and enter all living organisms. Its concentration in the body of fish is thousands of times higher than that of tritium. Carbon-14 is the main source of radiation to humans. These substances may damage human DNA, cause cancer, cause deformities, and cause genetic mutations. Damage to genes will last for thousands of years.
After nuclear pollution, strangely shaped vegetables, fish in rivers, lakes and seas, and people who are not as good as dead.
Ps. One of the worst nuclear disasters in Japanese history, the Tokaimura nuclear accident (东海村JCO临界事故), one of the victims in this incident, “Ouchi”, died in 83 days of extreme pain.
What did the Japanese government do as to whether nuclear waste water is safe?
The Agency for Reconstruction of Japan believes that it is necessary to release “science-based information” to the public to “relieve public worries” in response to issues such as the safety of nuclear waste water treatment. Therefore, on the 13th, it released a “tritium mascot” propaganda poster and video.
After being boycotted by the public and netizens, the promotion of the tritium mascot was stopped on the 14th.
The Agency for Reconstruction of Japan explained in a statement that the subject of radioactivity is relatively professional, and the original intention of the production was to increase public awareness. The poster and video introduction stated that radioactive tritium exists in rainwater, seawater, tap water and human bodies; tritium does not accumulate in the human body, but will be discharged from the human body together with water; the concentration of radioactive tritium will be greatly reduced when it is discharged into the ocean. The concentration in T is basically equivalent to the concentration of radioactive tritium in tap water; tritium is considered to have little effect on health, and foreign nuclear power plants are also emitting it.
Is tritium really safe?
What is tritium?
Tritium (氚sound ‘chuān’), English name: Tritium, also known as superheavy hydrogen, is one of the isotopes of hydrogen, and the element symbol is T or 3H. Its nucleus is composed of one proton and two neutrons, and is radioactive. It will undergo beta decay, with a half-life of 12.43 years and an atomic weight of 3.016u. Naturally produced tritium is very small and can be ignored. The tritium in the environment mainly comes from various nuclear tests and nuclear power activities.
Tritium is widely used in military, nuclear industry, medicine and other fields because of its radioactivity: tritium and deuterium can undergo nuclear fusion reactions, used to make hydrogen bombs or used as nuclear fuel for controlled nuclear fusion; tritium is used as a tracer in chemical, biological and medical research When tritium decays, it can emit electrons to excite yellow phosphors to emit light. Tritium tubes and β lamps made from this can be used in gun sights, low-light traffic lighting, and luminous signs in the dark. But it can also participate in material molecules through an isotope exchange reaction with hydrogen, thereby participating in the natural biological cycle and being ingested by organisms to cause harm.
Where does the nuclear power plant tritium come from?
In nuclear power plants, tritium is generated during nuclear fission. In addition, materials such as light water, heavy water, boron or lithium in the reactor can also capture neutrons to generate tritium. For example, in a common pressurized water reactor, nuclear fuel undergoes ternary fission:
Tritium produced by ternary fission is one of the main production methods of tritium in nuclear power plants. During normal operation, most of it can be contained in the fuel element cladding.
What are the hazards of tritium and tritium water?
- Harm to the environment
There are reports that a variety of marine organisms (flatfish, crustaceans, molluscs) have been found in Cardiff Bay, which is affected by the discharge of a large amount of tritium-containing organic matter, and in the Irish Sea, which has been affected by the discharge of tritium from the reprocessing plant in Sellafield for decades. Has a high concentration of organic tritium.
Tritium water can enter the body of primary producers and combine with organic matter to form stable organic tritium. Due to the low metabolic rate of organic tritium in organisms and the gradual accumulation of nutrients along the food chain, it will cause continuous internal radiation hazards to organisms.
Irradiated tomatoes, catfish, fish
2. Harm to the human body
Although tritium does not cause external radiation hazards, internal radiation is more dangerous. Small doses of tritium internal radiation can cause symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, and upper abdominal tenderness. Long-term exposure to tritium may cause chronic radiation sickness, and the long-term effects of tritium damage are carcinogenic effects.
However, scientists generally believe that tritium is not as harmless as the Japanese government claims. It is understood that the tritium in nuclear waste water can enter the natural green plants and combine with organic matter to form a stable organic tritium, which will gradually be enriched with the migration of nutrients in the food chain, which will cause continuous internal radiation hazards to the organism. If humans are continuously exposed to tritium radiation, it may cause cell death, DNA genetic damage, and even cancer. The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Marcos Orellana tweeted: “Multi-nuclide removal equipment cannot remove tritium in water. Although some scientists say its radiation is very low, others warn that people are underestimating it. The hazards of tritium, the risks it brings to humans and the environment will continue for more than 100 years.”
- South Korea expresses its strong regret over Japan’s decision, and at the same time requires Japan to negotiate with neighboring countries to determine a nuclear power plant sewage discharge plan.
- China and Russia also expressed serious concern over Japan’s decision to discharge pollutants into the sea, and demanded the Japanese government to handle nuclear waste water responsibly.
- The US State Department issued a statement expressing support for Japan’s decision. (The United States is the first and currently the only major country to openly support Japan’s Fukushima’s public pollution discharge.) US Secretary of State Brinken even spoke on Twitter, expressing gratitude to Japan for this action.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice on April 13, announcing that the agency will ban the import of certain agricultural products and dairy products from surrounding Japan affected by the Fukushima incident. Specific products include: fresh milk, butter, milk powder, infant milk powder, and other dairy products; vegetables and their products, rice, whole wheat, fish, meat and poultry, clams, sea urchins, citrus pomelo fruits, kiwis Wait. Previously, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare had confirmed that certain dairy products, fresh produce, and infant formula in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures contained radioactive iodine up to 5 times the acceptable level.
Click here for details on the government’s basic policy decision regarding the disposal of treated water such as multi-nuclide removal equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Click here for details on the national “Basic Policy on Disposal of Treated Water such as Multi-Nuclide Removal Equipment”.
Click here to find new definition of ALPS treated water from TEPCO’s (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc)Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Click here for details on the national “results of soliciting written opinions on the handling of treated water such as multi-nuclide removal equipment”