Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown in 2011, radioactive water from the incident has been stored by TEPCO, the plant’s managers. But a new proposal approved by Japan may soon change this. Under the proposed plan, over 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water will be treated, diluted and then released into the sea. The dissemination would occur slowly over the course of years.
According to the Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the water when released will be ‘treated’ instead of ‘contaminated’ or ‘irradiated’. Similarly, Michiaki Kai, an expert on radiation risk assessment at Japan’s Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences, has stated that the health risk would be minimal.
Despite this, many have criticised the move. While some question the treatment process which will be used, others highlight the precedent that releasing the waste may set. Beyond this, the issue once again has ignited discussions about the utility of nuclear power and whether it should continue to be used.