Company Is Dumping 777,000 Tonnes Of Radioactive Waste Into Ocean

A Japanese company is preparing to dump 777,000 tonnes of radioactive waste into the ocean.

The 2011 Tsunami, which killed 16,000 people, also disabled the emergency generators at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

 

This meant the cooling systems were not active when the reactors shut down.

According to the Japan Times, this caused the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

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While the clean-up operation continues to this day, tonnes of water is used to pump through the reactors to stop them overheating.

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2011, file photo, the Unit 4 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window in Okuma town, north of Tokyo, when the media was allowed into Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant for the first time. Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. went on trial Friday, June 30, 2017, for alleged negligence in the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The trial in Tokyo District Court is the first to consider whether utility officials can be held criminally responsible. Three reactors had meltdowns, and radiation spread into surrounding communities after the nuclear plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, Pool, File)

It means that this water becomes radioactive and needs to be stored away.

Now 600 barrels containing around 777,000 tonnes of radioactive water are set to be dumped in the ocean.

 

Chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Takashi Kawamura, claims that it is essential because they are running out of space to store the barrels.

‘The decision has already been made,’ he said.

It’s understood that the water contains a radioactive form of hydrogen called tritium.

This isotope is used in nuclear weapons, self-powered lighting and chemistry.

Fortunately, tritium is only dangerous to humans if it is ingested in large amounts.

 

When the waste is released into the ocean, it will be heavily diluted.

Japan is one of 14 countries who have dumped radioactive waste into the ocean.

The USSR, between 1959 and 1992 discarded the most amount of waste, which was mainly in the Arctic Ocean.

The UK is just behind Japan on the list, with Switzerland and America far behind in third and fourth.

Oceanographer Simon Boxall adds: ‘In the broad scale of things, if they do end up putting the material in the Pacific, it will have minimal effect on an ocean basin scale.

‘In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But the question is, what is the safest way forward? In many ways, this is a pragmatic solution.’

 

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