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Japan wants to dump Fukushima radioactive water into ocean

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Japan’s top government spokesman slapped down the environment minister on Tuesday after he said there was “no other option” but to release radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean.

“It is not true that we have decided on the disposal method,” Chief Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters after Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada’s comments earlier in the day.

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The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), is storing more than one million tonnes of contaminated water in tanks at the site of Fukushima Daiichi Plant that was wrecked by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Besides water used to cool meltdown fuel, underground water flows into the complex daily and storage capacity will be full by mid-2022, leaving the operator with the huge problem of disposing of it safely.

Harada, who is expected to leave the cabinet in a reshuffle Wednesday, said “there is no other option than to release it (into the sea) and dilute it.”

The minister had stressed that this was “just one opinion” and Suga emphasized that it was not the policy of the government, which has not yet given a timeframe for its final decision on what to do with the water.

Suga, seen as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-hand man, noted that an expert panel was still working on what to do with the water and was taking into account concerns from local fishermen, who fear it could destroy their livelihood.

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A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency had earlier recommended that Japan release the treated water into the ocean.

Radioactive water from the plant has been filtered through the Advanced Liquid Processing System, which removes highly radioactive substances like strontium and caesium but leaves in the less dangerous tritium, according to TEPCO.

Water treated in earlier years has relatively higher radioactivity and needs to be treated again to bring down the levels of radioactive substances.

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Elections 2016

California bill to establish nation’s second public bank applauded as ‘historic challenge to Wall Street domination’

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"If California is serious about addressing racial and income inequities, we must create a banking system that centers people not profits."

In a move advocacy groups celebrated as a "historic challenge to Wall Street domination of municipal finances," a pair of California state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation that would establish the nation's second publicly-owned bank and empower the institution to lend to businesses and local governments fighting to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19

What is China doing to stop Beijing’s new coronavirus outbreak?

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Over 1,000 flights have been cancelled, schools shut and residents urged not to leave Beijing, as Chinese authorities race to contain a fresh outbreak linked to the capital's largest wholesale food market.

The number of confirmed cases in the capital has shot up to 137 within the last week after two months of no cases, and four other provinces have revealed cases linked to the Beijing cluster.

How did the outbreak begin, and what measures are Beijing taking to contain it?

- What is the origin of the cluster? -

Beijing had turned into a virtual fortress at the height of the pandemic, with people arriving from other regions or countries required to undergo quarantines.

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2020 Election

Democrats and Never-Trumpers gaming out ‘doomsday scenarios’ if president refuses to leave office: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, Democratic strategists and Never-Trumper conservatives fear Donald Trump will refuse to leave office should he lose in November and are making plans and figuring out their legal options should such an unprecedented state of affairs come to pass.

The report, by the Times' Reid Epstein, begins with one such possible scenario.

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