PNG Fisheries Minister Wong opposes discharge of nukewater into the Pacific Ocean


Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Jelta Wong, has called on Japan to cancel plans to dump more than one million tonnes of radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean from the disabled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

He said the risks to the lives of Pacific Islanders, and to the health of the consumers of fish and other marine products around the world, are too high so the discharge of the nuclear waste water must not go ahead.

“Pacific Islands Countries are close friends with Japan, and together we say with respect that we cannot accept this release of nuclear fission products that will spread around our seas,” Wong said.

“There is little doubt that this nuclear wastewater will find its way into ecosystems and food chains, so contaminating people and also harming Pacific fisheries industries.

“If this nuclear wastewater is discharged it will be the ‘Pacific Chernobyl’ causing harm to our people for decades to come.

“Japan knows better than most countries the harm caused to human health by residual radioactive material, that continued to kill and maim thousands of Japanese people for decades after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic explosions.”

Wong said while it is understood the nuclear wastewater will have been treated to some extent, the company that owns the contaminated nuclear site, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has even confirmed the risks.

“In 2018 TEPCO admitted that the filtering process is not perfect and doesn’t completely remove all of the heavy radioactive elements.

“Both TEPCO, and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, agree that around 70 per cent of the stored Fukushima wastewater may still carry original nuclear fission nuclei.

“We are talking about more than one million tonnes of nuclear wastewater following along ocean currents causing the mutation of human cells in muscles, bones and thyroid, leading to cancer and birth defects in future generations.

“The release of radioactive waste into the ocean is not acceptable to people of the Pacific, and we call on our friends and counterparts in Japan to reconsider their plans,” Minister Wong said.