An aerial view shows storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. (REUTERS)
An aerial view shows storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. (REUTERS)

China concerned over Japan’s decision to release Fukushima wastewater into sea

The Chinese foreign ministry urged the US to treat Tokyo’s decision according to facts, and not according to the country.
By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Nadim Siraj, Beijing
UPDATED ON APR 14, 2021 12:55 AM IST

China on Tuesday criticised Japan’s decision to release treated radioactive wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea two years from now, arguing that it will affect the marine environment and the public health of neighbouring countries. The site was rocked by a quake followed by a tsunami a decade ago.

The US found itself alone backing Japan’s plan to release the water from the Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean, with American partners South Korea and Taiwan joining China in criticising the move.

The US said the approach appeared to be in line with global standards while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would help ensure the plan is carried out “without an adverse impact on human health and the environment”.

“Disposing of the treated water is an unavoidable issue for decommissioning the Fukushima nuclear power plant,” Japan PM Yoshihide Suga said.

The Chinese foreign ministry urged the US to treat Tokyo’s decision according to facts, and not according to the country. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the discharge of the water will impact the marine environment.

“International authorities and experts have clearly pointed out that the discharge of tritium-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean will affect the marine environment and the public health of neighbouring countries,” Zhao said.

He added that the existing treated wastewater contains other radionuclides and needs to be further purified and treated.

The ministry quoted an IAEA report that says “if the wastewater containing tritium from the nuclear plant is discharged into the sea, it will affect the marine environment and people’s health of neighbouring countries”.

With inputs from agencies

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