Fukushima N-plant wastewater released; China bans Japanese seafood – Times of India

TOKYO: Japan started releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, a polarising move that prompted China to announce an immediate blanket ban on all aquatic products from Japan. China’s customs bureau said it is “highly concerned about the risk of radioactive contamination brought by… Japan’s food and agricultural products.”
The Japan government signed off on the plan two years ago and it was given a green light by the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA last month. The discharge is a key step in decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi plant after it was destroyed by a 2011 tsunami. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said the release began at 1:03pm local time and it had not identified any abnormalities.
However, China reiterated its firm opposition to the plan and said the Japanese government had not proved that the water discharged would be safe. “The Japanese side should not cause secondary harm to the local people and even the people of the world out of its own selfish interests,” its foreign ministry said. Tokyo in turn criticised China for spreading “scientifically unfounded claims”.
Japan exported about $600 million worth of aquatic products to China in 2022, making it the biggest market for Japanese exports, with Hong Kong second. Sales to China and Hong Kong accounted for 42% of the exports in 2022. Separately from China, Hong Kong and Macau have announced their own ban starting Thursday, which covers Japanese seafood imports from 10 regions. South Korea has said import bans on Fukushima fisheries and food products will stay in place until public concerns were eased.
According to Tepco test results on Thursday, that water contained about up to 63 becquerels of tritium per litre, below the WHO drinking water limit of 10,000 becquerels per litre. A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity. The IAEA also said its on-site analysis had confirmed the tritium concentration was far below the limit.