Dozens of anti-nuclear activists protested Tuesday to demand Japan scrap its plan to release treated but still radioactive water from a tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant into the sea, which may begin this summer.
“Don’t dump contaminated water into sea!” protesters chanted outside the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holding’s headquarters in Tokyo, holding banners with their demands such as “Don’t nuke the Pacific,” and “Stop contaminated water.”
The utility that operates the plant wrecked in the 2011 disaster has almost finished building the needed facilities to release the massive amounts of water, which has been speculated to begin sometime after June.
The plan has faced fierce protests from local fishing communities concerned about safety and reputational damage. Neighboring countries, including South Korea, China and the Pacific Island nations, have protested.
Japanese officials say the water will be filtered to far below international releasable levels and further diluted by large amounts of seawater before release, making it harmless. However, some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium and other radionuclides on the environment and people is still unknown and the release should be delayed.
Tokyo and Seoul agreed recently for a South Korean delegation to visit the plant in late May to observe preparations for the release, as the two sides worked to improve ties strained by historical disputes.