THE JAPANESE Prime Minster has said radioactive water waste collected at the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have to be dumped in the ocean.
Over one million tons of radioactive water has been collected so far, including water to keep the melted reactor cores cool while they rust in the Sun.
It’s been over 10 years since the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant plant suffered three core meltdowns triggered by a tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Radioactive water at the site comes from different sources, including water used for cooling at the plant, groundwater and rainwater.
It’s thought that the about 1,000 tanks used to store the water will be full by 2022.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has now said his hand is being forced in the decision of what to do with all the contaminated water.
According to The Japan Times, Suga said plans to dump the water in the ocean were “unavoidable”.
Officials have been debating what to what to do with the radioactive water for years but their main plan seems to be diluting it and dumping it in the Pacific Ocean over the course of 30 years.
The water can mostly be purified apart from a substance called tritium that persists.
Tritium can be dangerous in large quantities.
Japanese trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told reporters: “What to do with the [treated] water is a task that the government can no longer put off without setting a policy.”
An official decision is expected to be announced next week.
How will this impact humans and the environment?
Japanese officials say the water will be so diluted it won’t be harmful to humans.
They plan to dilute it so the levels of tritium are only at 2.5% of the maximum concentration considered acceptable by national standards.
However, a report by Greenpeace last year claimed the contaminated water had the potential to damage human DNA.
At high levels, radioactive waste can be carcinogenic, which means it can cause cancer.
Lots of scientists say the risk is low but there are others who oppose the idea.
Tritium’s beta particles aren’t said to be able to penetrate human skin but are thought to build up inside the body if inhaled or consumed in large quantities.
However, you’d need to consume a vast amount to see any damaging health effects.
It’s thought the radioactive water would be dumped in the Pacific Ocean but exactly where has not been specified.
Environmentalists have previously campaigned for it not to be dumped near the coast because of any impact it may…