ISSN 2330-717X

Despite Concerns Japan Continues Dumping ‘Low Radioactive’ Water Into Ocean


The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Tuesday continued its emergency operation to dump 11, 500 tons of water tainted with low-level radiation into the Pacific Ocean to secure enough storage space for more highly radioactive water at the complex.

The work began Monday evening, and about 3,430 tons had been already discharged by Tuesday noon. Of the total, 10,000 tons come from the plant’s central waste processing facility, and 1,500 tons from near the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, according to TEPCO.

The utility said contaminated water being released into the sea contains up to 500 times the legal limit for radioactive material, but it stressed that the release would not harm marine life or seafood safety.

“Even if people ate fish from the affected sea water every day for one year, their radiation exposure would be 0.6 millisieverts, or about a quarter of the annual normal radiation from natural sources,” TEPCO said in a press conference.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the dumping radioactive water into the sea is “regrettable but unavoidable.”

“It is a relative and unavoidable decision based on the options available, as we put priority on preventing more highly contaminated water from flowing into the sea,” the top government spokesman said. Edano said the government should properly monitor developments and take all possible measures to ensure radioactive water won’t spread in the sea.


The Fukushima plant, 230 km north of Tokyo, was severely damaged by tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern region. The twin natural disasters knocked out the plant’s cooling systems, leading to suspected partial meltdowns in three of its six reactors and continued radiation leaks.

TEPCO has been also struggling to halt the flow of highly radioactive water soaking from various parts of the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean. The buildup of highly contaminated water has been severely delaying TEPCO’s efforts to restore the reactors’ cooling functions, which are crucial to overcome the world’s worst radiation crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

The operator is stepping up efforts to stop highly radioactive water leaking into the ocean from a 20-centimeter crack in the pit connected to the No. 2 reactor’s turbine building. Since Saturday, workers have poured concrete, sawdust, paper and water-absorbing polymers in the pipes, but the contaminated water is still flowing from the pit.

TEPCO said today it detected radioactive iodine-131 at 7.5 million times higher than the legal limit in samples taken on Saturday around the No. 2 reactor’s water.

Meanwhile, South Korea expressed concern over the issue, public broadcaster NHK reported.

South Korea’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry conveyed its concern to Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Monday evening through its embassy in Tokyo, according to NHK.

The South Korean ministry pointed out that release of contaminated wastewater could be a violation of international law, the report said, adding that Seoul has been increasingly worried about radioactive contamination of tap water and farm products.

There is growing criticism in South Korea that Japan failed to notify neighboring countries in advance about the release of contaminated water.

Small amounts of radioactive material have been detected in South Korea after the Fukushima nuclear complex, 230 kilometers north of Tokyo, started to release radioactive materials on March 12. The power station with six reactors was hit hard by the record 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami that rocked the northeastern region on the previous day.

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KUNA is the Kuwait News Agency

2 thoughts on “Despite Concerns Japan Continues Dumping ‘Low Radioactive’ Water Into Ocean

  • April 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Bottom line is no body is sure how the radio active waste shall affect marine Life and Environment.

    They just make a general assertion that the effects will be minimal with out any supporting evidence and no one has determined what the ‘Safety Limits’of radioactive materials dumped in the ocean are.

    Japan, with no other options in sight is forced to dump Nuclear waste into the sea, treaties notwithstanding.

    The Effects to So Sea water and the effect it will have on ground water level nobody knows.

    We have created the Nuclear Monster,let us suffer from it.
    Excerpts from my blog links for information.

    The Oslo Convention was the first regional treaty to regulate the dumping of wastes at
    sea – it was negotiated in 1972 by the countries bordering the North-East Atlantic. The
    nuclear industry successfully blocked efforts to include radioactive wastes within the
    auspices of the convention. Consequently, while the Convention regulated the dumping
    of sewage sludge, dredging spoils, and organohalogen compounds (amongst others) for
    almost twenty five years, the signatory nations had no right to even comment on the
    dumping of radioactive wastes. Yet, paradoxically, the OECD/NEA designated dumpsite
    for radioactive wastes was inside the area covered by the Convention.
    A few months later in 1972 the negotiations on the London Dumping Convention were
    concluded. This was the first global treaty to regulate the dumping of wastes at sea. This
    time the negotiations were less dominated by the Western European nuclear states, and,
    as a result, the dumping of so-called high-level radioactive wastes was banned.
    The first reported sea disposal operation of radioactive waste was carried out by the USA in 1946 in the North-East Pacific Ocean and the latest was carried out by the Russian Federation in 1993 in the Japan Sea/East Sea. During the 48 year history of sea disposal, 14 countries have used more than 80 sites to dispose of approximately 85 PBq (1 PBq = 1015 Bq) of radioactive waste (Fig. 10).


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