A Japanese governmental subcommittee today submitted its three-part, calamitously drafted proposal for managing more than one million tonnes of radioactive water resulting from the TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster of 2011. The subcommittee devastatingly proposed: to discharge the radioactive water directly into the environment via ocean discharge, vapour release into the lower atmosphere, or a combination of the two above methods. This proposal chosen by the subcommittee’s secretariat poses the least financial cost to Japan but the most immediate threat to the environment and highlights the government’s complete failure to consider safer alternatives, stated Greenpeace Japan.
Greenpeace 23rd Dec 2019 read more »
Japan’s economy and industry ministry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. The proposal made Monday to a body of experts is the first time the ministry has narrowed down the options available to just releasing the water. It is meant to tackle a huge headache for the plant’s operator as storage space runs out, despite fears of a backlash from the public.
Daily Mail 23rd Dec 2019 read more »
After years of decontamination efforts, as well as the natural decay of certain radioactive isotopes, the Japanese government has gradually lifted the evacuation orders for the towns that were contaminated. Okuma was among the last towns to reopen, and, even so, only partially; some of its territory was still part of the so-called difficult-to-return zone, where radiation levels remained above acceptable limits. Cleanup efforts included the demolition of buildings with high radiation levels and the removal of the top metre of soil from what had once been highly productive farms and rice paddies throughout the region. By 2022, Ishida said, another 2,125 acres of topsoil—the nutrient-rich dirt that had been like gold for local farmers—would be removed. “Ideally,” Ishida said, “if it’s possible to totally clean up to pre-3/11 levels, we should.” The unit of measurement for the impact of ionizing radiation on a person’s health is called a sievert. One sievert, absorbed at once, can make you very sick, and a few more will kill you. One millisievert—a thousandth of a sievert—will have no effect; a chest cat scan, for example, delivers a dose of seven millisieverts. The concern is long-term exposure, and the science around how much low-dose exposure increases the risk of cancer and other illnesses is contentious. The lowest annual dose that has clearly shown a link to cancer is a hundred millisieverts. The Japanese government decided that once the radiation dose in evacuated areas got down below twenty millisieverts per year it would allow people to return. This was roughly the dose in the newly opened areas of Okuma.
New Yorker 22nd Dec 2019 read more »