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HomeTechJapan running out of space for radioactive Fukushima water – and says dumping it in the OCEAN is now ‘unavoidable’

Japan running out of space for radioactive Fukushima water – and says dumping it in the OCEAN is now ‘unavoidable’

Japan running out of space for radioactive Fukushima water – and says dumping it in the OCEAN is now ‘unavoidable’

THE JAPANESE Prime Minster has said radioactive water waste collected at the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have to be dumped in the ocean.

Over one million tons of radioactive water has been collected so far, including water to keep the melted reactor cores cool while they rust in the Sun.

AFP

The water is currently stored in big tanks at the site[/caption]

It’s been over 10 years since the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant plant suffered three core meltdowns triggered by a tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Radioactive water at the site comes from different sources, including water used for cooling at the plant, groundwater and rainwater.

It’s thought that the about 1,000 tanks used to store the water will be full by 2022.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has now said his hand is being forced in the decision of what to do with all the contaminated water.

Reuters

The nuclear explosion happened back in 2011[/caption]

According to The Japan Times, Suga said plans to dump the water in the ocean were “unavoidable”.

Officials have been debating what to what to do with the radioactive water for years but their main plan seems to be diluting it and dumping it in the Pacific Ocean over the course of 30 years.

Reuters

There’s about a thousand containers at the site[/caption]

The water can mostly be purified apart from a substance called tritium that persists.

Tritium can be dangerous in large quantities.

Japanese trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told reporters: “What to do with the [treated] water is a task that the government can no longer put off without setting a policy.”

An official decision is expected to be announced next week.

How will this impact humans and the environment?

An aerial photo showing the damage of the site in 2011
An aerial photo showing the damage of the site in 2011
AP:Associated Press

Japanese officials say the water will be so diluted it won’t be harmful to humans.

They plan to dilute it so the levels of tritium are only at 2.5% of the maximum concentration considered acceptable by national standards.

However, a report by Greenpeace last year claimed the contaminated water had the potential to damage human DNA.

This image shows parts of the heavily-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in 2011
This image shows parts of the heavily-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in 2011
AP:Associated Press
The quake struck close to Fukushima in Japan, triggering tsunamis on the eastern coastline
The quake struck close to Fukushima in Japan, triggering tsunamis on the eastern coastline

At high levels, radioactive waste can be carcinogenic, which means it can cause cancer.

Lots of scientists say the risk is low but there are others who oppose the idea.

Tritium’s beta particles aren’t said to be able to penetrate human skin but are thought to build up inside the body if inhaled or consumed in large quantities.

However, you’d need to consume a vast amount to see any damaging health effects.

It’s thought the radioactive water would be dumped in the Pacific Ocean but exactly where has not been specified.

Environmentalists have previously campaigned for it not to be dumped near the coast because of any impact it may have on the habitats of wildlife.

Some experts want the waste dumped in the deep ocean but the International Maritime Organization has laws against dumping radioactive material in open ocean waters.

This law was brought into place after a Russian dumping in the Sea of Japan in the 1990s.

Why is radioactive waste dangerous?

Nuclear waste is hazardous for numerous reasons…

  • Nuclear waste is a byproduct of nuclear fission, which is a reaction caused when atoms are thrown together to create energy and end up splitting into tiny particles.
  • These particles are highly unstable and can cause cells in the body to malfunction, leading to cancer and cell death.
  • Long term exposure to nuclear radiation can leave people with incurable illnesses but the changes in their bodies are often not apparent until it is too late.
  • Nuclear power plants are good at creating lots of energy to power the World but there is no current 100% safe way to store their waste.
  • If storage facilities are not sealed properly then radiation can leak out into the environment, resulting in lots of diseases and the death of animals and ecosystems.

A survey of Sun readers for our Green Team campaign showed that 73% were more concerned about the environment than they were five years ago. And one in five have changed their habits because of something their children or grandkids said about green issues.

We want to know what your kids think about the environment, climate change and the future of the planet. What are their concerns, and what would they like to change? Add your child’s comments here. We will print the best.

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In other news, the Russian Defense Ministry has even released a video showing the first test of a weapon that creates “radioactive tsunamis.”

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And, climate change damage could be averted by hacking glaciers to halt rising sea levels, scientists have claimed.

What are your thoughts on nuclear power? Let us know in the comments…


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