On August 24, 2023, Japan officially dumped their nuclear waste water into the Pacific ocean.
I admit, I’m no expert on the subject matter, but as someone who has a platform, I wanted to share this information to more people because I think everyone should be aware of it. Since the past, I have tried to be environmentally conscious and so when this news came out, it shocked me that many people didn’t even know what was going on.
Let me remind you, this is not meant to “scare” anyone. I have no intention of “fearmongering” or “scaremongering” anyone. You choose how you want to interpret the information. But I don’t think it’s fair that the U.S. public isn’t really addressing the situation at all due to the UN “approving” of the cause on July 4, 2023, or some other political agenda being at play.
*Source: “The International Atomic Energy Agency has approved a plan by Japan to release more than a million tons of treated nuclear waste water from the destroyed Fukushima power plant into the ocean, despite vehement international opposition” (NPR, Westerman).
Here’s another article from NPR that I recommend you to read. It goes into more depth about the situation with Japan and the Nuclear Waste Water yesterday. (6 min read): https://www.npr.org/2023/08/24/1195419846/fukushima-radioactive-water-japan
Also some background, NPR or National Public Radio, is an American network based in Washington D.C. and often reports on “high quality news” (Britannica).
But, here is a quote summary from the article if you hadn’t had a chance to read it yet,
“Workers in Japan have started releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. The plant was destroyed in a 2011 earthquake and massive tsunami, and water has been accumulating ever since” (NPR, Brumfiel and Lonsdorf).
While the article states that tritium itself may not be harmful “in small quantities,” and is generally considered to be less dangerous than other radioactive isotopes, there are still valid concerns and risks for releasing it into the ocean. If other countries continue to get approved to dump their nuclear waste water into the ocean, I believe that could put the environment, human health, and marine life and ecosystems in serious grave danger. There is only one Pacific Ocean and one Earth for us to live on, thus it would ultimately have a lot of negative impacts on us all.
Everything should always be in moderation, too much of something will always be damaging and harmful in some way. That includes tritium! When we first developed motor cars, I doubt many people considered carbon dioxide to be a serious threat to climate change, yet here we are. In fact, tritium can still cause bioaccumulation in which marine animals consume this particle, which we then eat though the sea animals. Tritium also has a half -life of about 12.5 years, so who knows what kind of long-term effects it will have on the ocean and on us.
I mainly bring this up, because had the situation come from another country that wasn’t part of NATO, like China or Russia, I think the public would be reacting very differently to the whole thing. But given that Japan and the U.S. are considered allies, it’s not crazy to see that the news has been somewhat calm these past days.
So far, China and South Korea have been protesting against the nuclear water being dumped into the ocean. China has even banned all commercial sales with Japan’s seafood market, claiming that their fish will have increased toxins of radioactivity.
Additionally, Chinese artists have created political propaganda in protest against Japan dumping the nuclear waste water.
However, the most concerning isotope is actually Carbon-14, which is also found in nuclear waste water. This hasn’t been mentioned much in the article, so I can’t say much about the topic. But a quick research tells me that carbon-14 has a half-life of approximately 5,730 years and high levels of this particle can lead to high risk of cancer.
This amount of nuclear waste has never been dumped into the ocean, so I am weary about the future of our ocean. According to some models, estimates say that the nuclear-contaminated water will pollute China and the US in 3 years and the whole world in 10 years (@HuXijin_GT on Twitter).
We must find a better way to be sustainable. I understand that this sounds like an insurmountable effort because, while we are part of the issue, the main culprits are the large corporations, factories, and capitalism itself. However, we may be harming future generations’ access to clean water and oceans, at least ones that are less affected by this nuclear waste.
In the meanwhile, it’s best to stay updated with the news and form your own opinions of the matter at hand.
Thank you so much for reading!