Apr 29, 2021
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In Japan, where natural disasters are not uncommon, it is impossible to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants

On the anniversary of the disaster at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant

The world recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the powerful undersea earthquake and the resulting tsunami that struck Japan’s northeastern prefectures. Over 18 thousand Japanese became victims of the disaster. The economy suffered enormous damage and many people lost their homes.

The disaster at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, like the Chernobyl tragedy, will remain in memory for a long time. And not only in memory: millions of people in East Asia eat fish and seafood from the waters of the Western Pacific. And in vain are the Japanese authorities trying to talk about the safety of the water accumulated at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant being discharged into the ocean.

The decision to dump water into the ocean was made by the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Sugi. The authorities promised to clean the drained water from radioactive contamination, explaining their decision by the fact that “1.25 million tons of liquid accumulated in the tanks on the territory of the station, which cannot be extracted technically”

Tokyo’s decision to discharge waters believed to be harmful to living organisms was highly critical in Japan’s neighboring countries, China and the Republic of Korea.

China is outraged that the decision was taken by Japan unilaterally, without coordination with the IAEA and all interested countries. “Once again, we strongly urge the Japanese side to honestly dispel doubts both domestically and abroad, reverse the erroneous decision and return to the correct path of consultation with stakeholders and relevant international organizations.”– said the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Wang Wenbin.

South Korea accuses Japan of not providing all the information on the issue of purifying water from radioactive particles.

Russia also expressed concern about the discharge of water from Fukushima-1, saying that Moscow expects Japan to explain its plans to dump radioactive water into the ocean. This is stated in the official statement of the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation: “We expect that the Japanese government … will inform the states concerned about its actions that may pose a radiation threat.”… The Foreign Ministry stressed that, when deciding on the disposal of water, Japan did not consult with neighboring countries; the official information on this issue does not include assessments of the risks to the ecology of the Pacific Ocean. The Russian Foreign Ministry is counting on Japan’s permission to monitor radiation at the dump sites.

A protest against the discharge of water accumulated at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant was announced by Greenpeace offices in various countries. Late last year, Greenpeace Germany Senior Nuclear Power Specialist Sean Burney noted: “Almost ten years after the start of the disaster, TEPCO (operator of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant) and the Japanese government are still hiding the scale of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. They deliberately kept detailed information about radioactive materials in contaminated water secret for many years and did not explain to the people of Japan and neighboring countries – South Korea and China that contaminated water discharged into the Pacific Ocean contains dangerous levels of carbon-14. “… It was noted that the Japanese government and company TEPCO continue to call the purified 1.23 million tons of water stored in tanks, and claim that it contains only tritium. The Greenpeace report says that the plant’s liquid handling unit is not designed to remove carbon-14. Experts believe that 72% of the water in the reservoirs will need to be re-treated.

After the disaster, the Japanese government decided to suspend the operation of all nuclear power plants in the country to take measures to prevent a repetition of this. This was a serious decision, since nuclear power plants generate a third of the electricity consumed in the country. Unlike other countries, Japan does not plan to abandon nuclear power plants at all. At the same time, Germany is slated to completely abandon nuclear generation in 2022; in Italy it was decided to abandon the further construction of the nuclear power plant; similar decisions were taken by Switzerland, Spain, Belgium; in France, where nuclear power plants account for up to 70% of electricity production, they want to reduce its share to 50% by 2035.

In Japan, it was decided to restore the work of old stations, which are more than 40 years old. Fukui Prefecture Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto said the central government has announced its policy of continuing to use nuclear energy and has offered up to 2.5 billion yen ($ 22 million) in subsidies to revive the local economy for each nuclear power plant. The governor was opposed by the Fukui residents united in an “anti-nuclear civilian group”, who criticized Sugimoto in front of the prefectural government building, displaying posters that read: “Do not start old nuclear reactors!”

“Concerns remain among the local community about the safety of restarting the aging reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. and the effectiveness of evacuation plans in the event of an accident. How to dispose of the highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel that will be produced at the plants is also an unresolved issue “, – the agency “Kyodo Tsushin” informs.

Due to the introduction of stricter safety regulations and public skepticism about nuclear power in Japan, only nine reactors were rebooted after 50 units were shut down due to the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

What are the prospects? In accordance with the current plan, which is now being revised, the government aims to ensure that by 2030 Japan’s renewable energy sources provide 22 to 24 percent of energy, fossil fuels 56 percent, nuclear energy 20-22 percent.

The 40-year maximum lifetime principle was introduced in the aftermath of the Fukushima 1 disaster due to concerns that aging reactors were prone to accidents. However, in 2016, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority approved the operation of three power units, which are more than 40 years old, with an extension of their operation for another 20 years after the introduction of more stringent safety measures.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima 1 disaster, protesters against nuclear power can often be seen in the Kasumigaseki government quarter and outside the Japanese parliament. Although I am not a citizen of Japan, but as a resident of the planet and a neighboring country, I signed a petition for the closure of Japanese nuclear power plants. In a country where all natural disasters without exception occur, it is impossible to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants …


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