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Japan Releases Treated Radioactive Water into Pacific Ocean from Fukushima


Context:- Japan has initiated the process of discharging treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged during the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, into the Pacific Ocean. In response to this action, China announced an immediate suspension of Japanese seafood imports.

Reasons for Water Release:

  • 2011 Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi Plant: After the 2011 disaster, multiple reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant experienced meltdowns.
  • Ongoing Cooling Efforts: This situation requires continuous efforts to cool the reactors, a process that involves using water.
  • Contamination of Water: However, this cooling water becomes contaminated during the process, creating ongoing challenges related to handling and managing this contaminated water.
  • The storage tanks holding the radioactive water at the site are nearing maximum capacity, prompting the decision to release treated water into the ocean after appropriate treatment processes.

Safety of the Released Water:

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has indicated that the discharged water, once it undergoes treatment, will have minimal radiological impact.
  • Experts anticipate that this impact will have negligible effects on both people and the environment.
  • The Japanese government highlights a crucial point: Tritium, a component found in the released water, is considered non-harmful.
  • This is due to its radiation, which isn’t sufficiently strong to penetrate human skin. However, ingestion at levels above those in the released water can potentially elevate cancer risks.

Controversy and Responses:

  • The decision to release treated radioactive water into the ocean has sparked concerns. It has met with opposition from several quarters. This move has raised questions about its potential environmental and health impacts.
  • China’s immediate suspension of Japanese seafood imports is a direct response to the release. This action highlights international concerns and reactions.

The discharge of treated radioactive water from Fukushima has stirred debates on environmental safety, health impacts, and international relations, raising apprehensions globally.

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