Fukushima Radioactive Water Issue – UPSC Prelims

  • Japan is planning to release more than 1 million metric tons of radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • The Japanese government planned to release this water into the ocean after two years.
  • Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant:
    • Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is located in the town of Okuma, Japan. The reactor is located on the country’s east coast. It is about 220 km north-east of the capital Tokyo.
    • The 2011 Earthquake, destroyed the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant’s electricity and cooling capacity. Since then, Japan is struggling with the piling-up of contaminated water from the nuclear plant.
Release of Fukushima Radioactive Water:
  • Japan is treating water but treatment cannot remove some radioactive isotopes like tritium.
  • Japan is planning to release the contaminated water containing tritium into the ocean.
  • Tritium considered to be relatively harmless because it does not emit enough energy to penetrate human skin. But when ingested tritium can create cancer risks.
  • Some scientists have pointed out that the long-term effects on marine life are unknown. Especially a low-dose exposure to such large amounts of material like tritium.
  • Further, the experts also point out the ill effects of radioactive isotope Strontium 90. Strontium released in the ocean can start to concentrate in the bones of both fish and humans. Thereby increasing cancer risks.
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