Pacific Islands Forum urge Japan to delay Fukushima wastewater discharge
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) said on Wednesday (01.18.2023) that more data and information are needed about Japan’s plans to start dumping into the Pacific Ocean this year the nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, due to fears of possible contamination and risks to the fishing industry, human health and the environment.
The Japanese government said last week that water from the plant could be released into the ocean “around this spring or summer,” raising concerns in a region still grappling with the legacy of decades-old nuclear tests. Pacific Islanders continue to suffer the long-term consequences of the legacy of nuclear tests – the United States conducted nuclear tests on the Pacific islands in the 1940s and 1950s and France conducted atomic tests between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa atoll in France’s Pacific territories.
The island nations argue that the discharge could have a great impact on the fishing industry upon which the island economies depend, which catch up to half of the world’s tuna. Henry Puna, the General Secretary of the PIF told a live broadcast public meeting from Suva, Fiji: “Our region stands firm that it has not spilled until it is verified by all parties that it is safe, We must prevent actions that lead to another major nuclear contamination disaster”.
Ken Buesseler, a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said on Wednesday that an FIP scientific think tank was urging Japan to reconsider dumping the wastewater, saying more information was needed about the effects of radioactivity moving through the ocean with currents and tides, and the risks of contaminating the fish.