Beijing, April 13
China on Tuesday objected to Japan’s move to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea, warning Tokyo that “it reserves the right to make further reactions”.
Japan decided on Tuesday to release treated radioactive water from crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea, having assessed there will be no negative impact on human health or the environment despite concerns from local fishermen and neighbouring countries, Japan Times reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met with members of his Cabinet to formalise the decision, which comes a decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown in March 2011.
While the US-backed Japan’s move, it drew sharp reactions from neighbouring China and South Korea.
“As a close neighbour and stakeholder, the Chinese side expresses grave concern over this,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Fukushima nuclear accident is one of the most serious in world history. The leak of large amounts of radioactive materials has had far-reaching implications on the marine environment, food safety and human health,” it said.
It said a review report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert team points out that “if the wastewater containing tritium from the Fukushima nuclear plant is discharged into the sea, it will affect the marine environment and people’s health of neighbouring countries and that the treated wastewater needs to be further purified to remove other radionuclides”.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also quoted a report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which believes that the impact of the wastewater on the marine ecological environment requires continued monitoring.
The Japanese government “should re-evaluate the issue and refrain from wantonly discharging the wastewater before reaching consensus with all stakeholders and the IAEA through full consultations”, the statement said.
“China will continue to watch closely the developments of the matter together with the international community and reserves the right to make further reactions,” it said.
China’s state-run CGTN TV reported that South Korea too expressed “strong regret” after Suga’s announcement.
Koo Yoon-cheol, head of South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination, said that the government will take every necessary measure in line with the principle of keeping its people safe from the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
South Korea on Tuesday summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi over Tokyo’s decision to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, the YTN broadcaster reported.
However, the US has defended the Japanese government’s decision, saying the release of treated water is an “acceptable approach”.
Japanese government has taken the decision “in close coordination” with the IAEA “including radiation monitoring, remediation, waste management, and decommissioning,” said a statement by the US.
“The US is aware that the GOJ (Government of Japan) examined several options related to the management of the treated water currently being stored onsite at the Fukushima Daiichi site.
“In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards,” it said.
“We look forward to the GOJ’s continued coordination and communication as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach,” it added. — PTI