Japan should refrain from contaminating sea with nuclear waste: scholar


A scholar on Tuesday slammed Japan’s planned discharge of radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

“The contamination will affect the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty areas as well when it eventually flows there,” said Kalinga Seneviratne, a visiting lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, in an interview with Xinhua in Suva, capital of Fiji.

“Also, since fish stocks are migratory, contaminated fish could be caught within the treaty area,” Seneviratne added.

He said multilateral agreement among the nations of the South Pacific prohibits testing, manufacturing, and stationing nuclear explosive devices and dumping nuclear waste within the zone.

The scholar noted that Japan claims to promote a rules-based order.

“If Japan wants to protect a rules-based order, they need to subscribe to the principles of these rules and respect the wishes of the people in the Pacific who argue the treaty is there to stop something like this happening.”

But Japan is trying to use technical arguments to argue otherwise, Seneviratne added, saying, “Japan should refrain from contaminating the sea with nuclear waste.”

According to a statement by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) on Tuesday, the second technical dialogue on Fukushima Wastewater between the PIF independent scientific experts and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was held last Friday 09 June.

Questions on the process and data linked to the proposed discharge of treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean by Japan continue to be the focus of the meeting, the statement said.

The PIF experts said during the meeting that the lack of Tokyo Electric Power Company research into Fukushima water discharge on marine species, which are more common to the Pacific Forum nations, left them unable to provide an informed decision to PIF members on a priority gap around the ecosystem and food security impacts.

Despite ongoing opposition from domestic experts, civic groups and fishery organisations, Japan has been rushing to dump the contaminated water into the ocean, which has also incited protests from neighboring nations and communities within the Pacific Islands.

According to the national broadcaster NHK, Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, began trialing the equipment on Monday morning to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific.

The test run of the discharge facility is expected to last for around two weeks, it added.