Japan’s proposal to dump more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the ocean off its east coast has been strongly opposed by neighbours including China and South Korea. But scientists say the risks are likely to be minimal if the release is carried out as planned. Japan revealed the proposal in April, causing South Korea’s foreign minister to initially express “strong regret and serious concerns”. According to China’s state news agency Xinhua, Chinese scientists have also objected to the proposal, with Liu Senlin at the China Institute of Atomic Energy in Beijing describing it as “extremely irresponsible”. But other scientists, and the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), have countered that the radiation in the treated waste water will be very low, and that the water will be released gradually over several years to minimize any risk. “As a scientist I have to keep a cool view on all this, and look at the facts, and the facts are not telling me that this is something that we should be very worried about,” says Jordi Vives I Batlle, a scientist at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre in Mol, who studies the effect of radiation on marine ecosystems.
Nature 7th May 2021 read more »