Six months before a complicated presidential election, the Seoul authorities offered themselves, just before Christmas, a little anti-Japanese sparkle to flatter part of their electorate. The South Korean Olympic Committee has announced that it will bring with it some of the food that will be served to its athletes next summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games. He also promised to acquire “detectors” in order to control the concentrations of radioactive elements in the fresh products which he will have to source in Japan during the competition. “We want safe meals to be provided so that athletes do not worry about radiation,” said a KSOC executive. In Japan, this outing has angered organizers who have been trying for months to reassure all countries about the safety of food produced throughout the country , hundreds of kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but also in closer farms.
Les Echos 29th Jan 2020 read more »
As cleanup of the 2011 Fukushima disaster continues, the Japanese government made its case to embassy officials from 23 countries Monday that dumping contaminated water from the nuclear power plant into the ocean is the best course of action. According to Kyodo News, officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry claimed releasing the water and evaporating it are both “feasible methods” but said the former could be done “with certainty” because radiation levels could be monitored. There’s more than one million tons of contaminated water already stored at the plant, with 170 tons more added each day. Utility TEPCO says there will be no more capacity for tanks holding contaminated water by 2022. As Agence France-Presse reported, “The radioactive water comes from several different sources—including water used for cooling at the plant, and groundwater and rain that seeps into the plant daily—and is put through an extensive filtration process.” That process still leaves tritium in the water and “has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials,” Kyodo added. The session for embassy officials followed Friday’s recommendation by a Japanese government panel that releasing the water into the ocean was the most feasible plan. Nuclear policy expert Paul Dorfman said Saturday, “Releasing Fukushima radioactive water into ocean is an appalling act of industrial vandalism.” Greenpeace opposes the plan as well. Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist the group’s German office, has previously called on Japanese authorities to “commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis, which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium.”
Common Dreams 3rd Feb 2020 read more »
The Japanese government is campaigning to win support for a plan to pump more than a million tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. Although the government of the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has not formally announced the plan, it has become increasingly clear that it intends to go ahead with a step that will provoke anger and anxiety both in Japan and among the country’s east Asian neighbours. Diplomats in Tokyo were briefed today on “options” for solving one of the biggest problems caused by the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant. But the briefing, like a committee report last week, concluded that other methods of disposing of the water, such as evaporation, were impracticable. Almost nine years after a tsunami caused the catastrophe, the three melted down reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi are still decades away from being dismantled. In the meantime, 170 tons of water is contaminated by them every day. Some of this is water poured on to the broken reactors to cool them. Much is natural ground water which flows through the earth towards the sea, picking up radiation on the way. To prevent the groundwater reaching the plant in the first place, the authorities built an underground “ice wall” of frozen earth, but this has been only partly effective.
Times 4th Feb 2020 read more »