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Taiwan NGOs protest Japan's release of Fukushima wastewater

Environmental groups allege lack of transparency about safety of Japan's Fukushima nuclear wastewater

NGOs protest Japan's dumping of Fukushima nuclear wastewater. (CNA photo)

NGOs protest Japan's dumping of Fukushima nuclear wastewater. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Several of Taiwan's environmental NGOs led a protest outside the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) on Wednesday (Sept. 6) about the recent discharge of radioactive wastewater from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

Taiwanese environmental activists called for the immediate suspension of wastewater discharge from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, citing unclear information and a lack of transparency. The group also announced a candlelight event and campaign will be held in Taipei on Sept. 14, in solidarity with related protests around the world, per RTI.

NGOs in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have all issued statements or taken action to oppose Japan’s release of nuclear wastewater. A candlelight vigil will be held in front of the United Nations in New York on Sept. 14, and many other cities around the world will hold a similar event.

Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsui Shu-hsin (崔愫欣) accused the Japanese government of attempting to deceive the public by replacing the term "nuclear wastewater" with "processed water." He said it has tried to compare the discharge from Fukushima with drainage water from a normally functioning nuclear power plant.

Tsui also alleged that the Japanese government made false claims that Fukushima nuclear wastewater is safer than ordinary nuclear plant water discharge. Tsui said normal nuclear discharge does not come into contact with damaged reactor cores, which was the case with Fukushima nuclear wastewater, which could potentially be contaminated with a large number of radioactive nuclides.

Green Citizens' Action Alliance also said that Japan only referred to the tritium content of nuclear wastewater as an indication of water safety, though there may be other radioactive nuclei in the water. "We don't think that the current nuclear wastewater is toxic, but we are talking about long-term accumulation that may occur in the marine environment, which needs to be clearly monitored," Tsui said.

She added that the release of Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the ocean is the first such case in the world, posing a huge unknown risk to the environment.

Taiwan NGOs protest Japan's release of Fukushima wastewater
Taiwan's environmental activists protest Japan government's discharge of Fukushima nuclear wastewater. (CNA photo)

Mom Loves Taiwan secretary-general Yang Shun-mei (楊順美) added that Japan uses Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) equipment to treat nuclear wastewater, which claims to be able to filter out 62 types of radioactive nuclides such as tritium and carbon-14, but it is not able to achieve 100% removal of radioactive nuclides. Furthermore, Yang said a 2022 report found that 70% of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) treated nuclear wastewater did not meet discharge standards for radioactive nuclide activity and required follow-up examination.

Yang said that the Japanese government should release more information about the nuclear wastewater in question, including tritium content, which many are concerned with because tritium is easily metabolized by the human body. Yang said other harmful radioactive substances such as strontium 90 and iodine 129 can also accumulate in the body or in the marine food chain.