SEOUL, Dec. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The Japanese government has made a de facto decision to release contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant despite strong opposition from South Korea.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held an expert subcommittee session on Monday and announced plans to release the contaminated waters in two ways.
Japanese media reported that the contaminated water will first be purified, mixed with a special ‘purificant’ stored in a separate tank, and released either to the open sea or air.
Originally, the subcommittee considered the release of hydrogen through electrolysis, storage in a facility 20 meters underground, or injecting the liquid into a stratum located 2,500 meters underground.
These plans, however, were soon rejected due to various restrictions, technological barriers and time restraints.
Releasing the contaminated water to the open air and sea has long been a controversial issue in Japan, mainly because the Multi-nuclide Removal Equipment (ALPS) used for decontamination of the water is incapable of removing tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
Residents of Fukushima strongly opposed the idea of releasing the contaminated water to the open sea and air due to fears that consumers would shun all agricultural and maritime produce from areas near Fukushima, which would hurt their business.
While the Japanese government insists that the released water will be sufficiently diluted to be proven scientifically harmless, the backlash is expected to continue.
South Korea has also been strongly opposing the plan, with a series of requests asking the Japanese government to release detailed information to the international community to prove whether Japan’s plans to process the contaminated water is scientifically reliable.
Whenever South Korea brought up the issue, however, Japan evaded response by saying that there is ‘nothing decided as to how the water will be processed’.
Japan’s de facto decision is expected to be met by a stronger backlash from South Korea.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)