In March 2011, the 2nd worst nuclear disaster next to Chernobyl occurred. It was caused by a tsunami after a magnitude-9 earthquake hit Japan’s northeast coast. As a result, three of six reactor cores melted down in Fukushima, Japan. According to Tokyo Electric Power Company, a Japanese electric utility holding company, they have collected over one million tons of radioactive wastewater, which leaked into the nuclear plant’s basement.
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Initial reports stated that the radioactive wastewater only contained tritium, an isotope of hydrogen which poses little danger to humans. However, documents leaked in 2018 revealed that the water contained a deluge of radioactive materials. This includes cobalt, rhodium, iodine, and strontium. All of these radioactive materials were detected at levels far above any legal limit. As of now, the radioactive water is stored in nearly a thousand tanks at the site.
|Photo Credit: All That's Interesting|
The Japanese government has discussed a few options for radioactive wastewater. This includes burying it in concrete below ground, vaporizing the liquid, or diluting the material with ocean water. All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, reported that Japanese officials are considering dumping over one million tons into the Pacific Ocean. In an interview, Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s Minister of the Environment said, “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it. The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
|Photo Credit: From Press|
This, of course, will extremely affect the ocean. Thus, the local fishing industry – including that of South Korea – is not pleased with this plan. The country has sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, requesting it to find “a safe way to handle radioactive water from the Fukushima plant.”
“The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis, which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium,” it wrote.