Concerns over proposed tritium discharges from Fukushima – why no apparent concern about the larger tritium releases from Hunterston B and Torness? Recent newspaper reports have expressed concern about the apparent decision by the Japanese Government and TEPCO to discharge large volumes of radioactive tritiated water from the stricken Fukukshima nuclear power station in Japan into the Pacific Ocean. I have expressed concern myself about this proposed decision -see here. Instead I recommend that TEPCO and the Japanese Government should build more storage tanks to allow for the decay of the radioactive tritium. Some readers have commented that all nuclear power stations world-wide discharge tritium into the sea (sometimes via rivers) and into the atmosphere. This is true and TEPCO used this fact to try to justify its proposed dumping of tritium into the sea. My reply was that two wrongs do not make a right: it is in fact quite worrying that all nuclear facilities routinely dump large volumes of tritium into the sea and the air. This applies to all UK nuclear power stations as well – including Hunterston B and Torness in Scotland. Recent reports have expressed concern about the restarts of the ancient dilapidated reactors at Hunterston B which are well past their sell-by dates. See here and here These fears largely centre on the risks of a nuclear accident at these old unsafe reactors. But shouldn’t we also be concerned about their tritium discharges? In 2018, annual tritium releases to the sea from Hunterston B were 148 terabecquerels (TBq) and the even more dangerous tritium emissions to the atmosphere totalled 0.96 TBq. The situation is similar at all other UK nuclear power stations. For example, at Torness, the tritium discharges in 2018 were 295 TBq into the sea and 1.32 TBq into the air. In most cases, these annual amounts are larger than the annual amounts being proposed to be released at Fukushima. So shouldn’t we be equally be concerned at these releases, as we are at the Japanese ones?
Ian Fairlie’s Blog 22nd Oct 2020 read more »