April 14, 2021 10:28
Korea and China on Tuesday protested against Japan's decision to release over 1 million tons of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, but the U.S. expressed support.
The Japanese government in a Cabinet meeting the same day approved a plan to discharge the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean in two years' time, when the plant's storage tanks become full. Some 1.25 million tons are currently stored in these tanks, increasing at a rate of 140 tons a day.
Korean government officials expressed "strong regret." One said the government is putting the safety of Koreans first and "take all necessary measures" to get Japan to share information about the released water.
The Foreign Ministry here summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi to lodge a formal protest.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement said Japan "unilaterally" decided to release the water without discussing the matter with neighboring countries and accused Tokyo of being "highly irresponsible."
But the U.S. State Department in a statement said, "In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards."
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told his cabinet on Tuesday that the release of the contaminated water is "unavoidable" in decommissioning the plant and reviving the stricken area.
It is possible to remove harmful radionuclides in contaminated water with purifying systems, but not tritium. Japan wants to reduce the level of tritium in Fukushima water to one-seventh of WHO drinking water standards by diluting it through a filtration process before releasing it over 30 to 40 years.
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