Japan Mulls Dumping More Than a Million Tons of Radioactive Water into Pacific Ocean

Energy, Enviromentalism, International Relations, Rundown

Local fishermen are concerned about news that the Japanese government may dump more than a million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have advised the government that their studies have shown all radioactive elements present in the water were successfully removed through treatment.

In 2011, a massive earthquake that registered 9 on the Richter scale knocked out power in the Fukushima nuclear power plant which caused six of its reactors to have a partial meltdown. Highly contaminated water eventually spilled into the Pacific Ocean.

The experts shared their concern that in the event any of the tanks which contain radioactive water breaks, the leak from its contents would be difficult to control. The only element which appears to remain in the radioactive water is tritium. The scientists maintain tritium is safe in small amounts.

Frequent testing of catch in waters near Fukushima show fishes are free of radiation contamination. However local fishermen say consumers continue to avoid eating their fish.

Surveys report that 1 in 5 residents shun fish and other products sourced from Fukushima. The fishermen believe their industry will continue to suffer if radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean.

Contaminated water continues to build up because the radioactive waste mixes with groundwater that has leaked through cracks in the reactor buildings. The volume of radioactive water has been measured to be increasing at a rate of 150 tons every day.

Radioactive water is collected and stored in tanks at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant located in Okuma, Fukushima.

After treatment, 210 tons are reused as cooling water. The rest are kept inside the storage tanks.

The process has become expensive and troublesome for TEPCO to manage. The company has to dig dozens of wells to pump out groundwater in an effort to reduce its flow before it reaches the reactor buildings.

Some members of the scientific community have likewise expressed scepticism over the underground “ice wall” which was built by partially freezing the ground near the reactors.

Another option for the government to consider would be to transfer the tanks to another storage area and wait until 2023 to release the water. Scientists are convinced that by 2023, half of the water’s tritium content would have disappeared.

  • Aaron Oakley

    That “million tons of radioactive water” is really just ordinary water with a little tritium. Radiation from tritium decay is weak. Dumping it in the ocean would be quite safe. The real problem is irrational fear.

    • bobfairlane

      You drink that shit.

      • Aaron Oakley

        OK, what do you think would happen if I “drank that shit”, based on science?

        • bobfairlane

          Radiation toxicity.

          • You mean like the “radiation toxicity” we get every time we eat a banana which is loaded with radioactive potassium and its much higher beta decay energy than tritium?
            .
            Are you standing on the street corner shouting to the crowds about the dangers of bananas?

  • bobfairlane

    Nuclear plants are nuclear crap. Japan is foolish for messing with nuclear crap. You might thing they would have learned after being hit by two nuclear bombs, and seeing what happened to Chernobyl.

    • Aaron Oakley

      Nuclear power is the safest energy source we have based on sensible metrics such as deaths per TWh.

      Nuclear weapons are not atomic power plants.

      Bringing up Chernobyl in a discussion about modern nuclear power is like bringing up the Hindenburg in a discussion of modern air travel. No-one is building Soviet era RBMKs without containment.

      • bobfairlane

        And yet FuckYouShima is leaking nuclear garbage all over the planet.

        • Aaron Oakley

          You don’t understand the relevant science, do you?

          • bobfairlane

            You want people to die in nuclear radiation. Whatever quantity, you shouldn’t be fucking around with it or dumping it.

          • Aaron Oakley

            Nuclear radiation is everywhere, all the time. By your reasoning, we shouldn’t eat bananas because of their potassium-40 content. Low-level radiation, especially from weak emitters such as tritium, is not to be feared.

      • bobfairlane

        Go lick the Elephant Foot.

    • Peter Olins

      Before criticizing nuclear, you probably should look at the known risk of the toxic exhaust from coal-fired power plants (an industry that the U.S. government is currently striving to expand though increased tax credits).

      • bobfairlane

        Coal use can be improved and surpassed. Nuclear shit is still nuclear shit.

        • Aaron Oakley

          Coal contains uranium and thorium in ppm quantities. Thermal coal generators put more radiation into the environment than nuclear.

  • Peter Olins

    This topic is almost meaningless without saying how MUCH tritium would be released, not the volume of water. Releasing the waste to the ocean sounds much safer than risking groundwater contamination, since we don’t drink seawater, plus the the waste is probably much more diluted in the ocean.

    Tritium is the least hazardous radioactive element that I am aware of, and my hunch is that the level of risk from radon exposure within the home would be well above that of the tritium that entered the food chain. Tritium also decays fairly rapidly, with a half-life of about 12 years.

    Unlike mercury or some pesticides, there is no reason to expect tritium to concentrate as it passed through the food chain.