Fukushima nuclear plant disaster; the world’s second-worst disaster after the Chernobyl have completed a decade last month. Dismaying many Japanese citizens and people around the globe, this disaster was the ultimate result of an earthquake; 9.0 magnitude on the scale, one of the worst earthquakes in the history of japan. Now the disturbance caused by the earthquake led to a tsunami, ultimately leading to the disruption of the nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Plant.
Decommissioning and the water release of the nuclear plant
The plant had temporary storage of facility that provided a reasonable environment that comprehends and manages the existing waste. To deliver a durable incentive to store high-level waste for the period before its final disposal, needed a decay of head and radioactivities. So, after the meltdown in 2011 around 1.25 million tonnes of water was accrued in tanks at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.
The Fukushima Daiichi power plant has mentioned scheduling the decommission at the site. The Japanese government states "On the premise of strict compliance with regulatory standards that have been established, we select oceanic release,"
The process of disposing of the contaminated water from the Daiichi plant has been a heavy problem to Tokyo Electric Power, as this whole project promises to go on for decades. Last year (2020) around 5000 cubic feet of radioactive water was generated from Daiichi. The issue lies here that the government fears the storage space will run out by summer 2022.
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga expressed in a ministerial meeting that discharging the water was an "inevitable task,” the mentions that the process of decommissioning the nuclear plant the decades-long process and according to the Japanese government the discharge is going to be safe, they confirm that the processed water is irradiated from almost all the radioactive elements and can be diluted. They say the operation will only happen after ensuring the safety levels of water. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports the water release, says that the release is just like any other wastewater release from nuclear plants elsewhere in the world.
The effect on local fishermen
The local fishing communities are spectacle about the water release in the ocean, they fear that this method would undermine years of effort to restore assurance in seafood from the Fukushima region. Although the filtration system, ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) filters out radioactive elements from tonnes of newly contaminated water each day, the fishermen still do not hold any confidence regarding the procedure.
The head of the local fishery cooperative in Fukushima said, “They told us that they would not release the water into the sea without the support of fishermen, we can not back this move to break that promise and release the water into the sea unilaterally.”.
The government says that it needs to win the confidence of the local communities as now this debate has been dragged on for years. The Japanese government plans to dilute the created water to release it as vapors or into the ocean. Either way, the IAEA confirms that both methods are acceptable. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano mentions that the method of water releasing in the ocean is a well-established practice around the globe, he says that this procedure is done everywhere, it’s nothing new. He assures that there is no scandal in this method.
specialists confirm that the elements in the water are merely harmful to humans in high doses. They say that the diluted water does not incur any scientifically detectable risk. The essence of radioactivity naturally decays and within 1000-10,000 years this radiation of HLW will decay to that of the originally mined ore.
In the process of HLW, the water is transformed into a stable form that is suitable for disposal. Even a multi-barrier approach, combines containment and geological disposal and it is ensured to isolate this waste from the environment for thousands of years.
However, the ALPS filtration method removed most of the radioactive elements from the water but some remain including ‘tritium.’ This element can be toxic and it’s certainly wrong to state that water being released will not harm the population and the environment of Japan. Although the IAEA and the government have incurred consent on the water release methods since the stored water might cause larger damage to the surroundings, comparing to the release. According to the government they still pose to satisfy the local fishing communities and also will offer alternatives for their occupation.