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    Japan assures discharge of treated water from Fukushima nuclear plant safe, no impact on Malaysia or environment

    March 16, 2023 - Malaysian Government News


      Kualalumpur: Here is the text of news released by official news agency Bernama on its website:

      Japan has given the assurance that the discharge of treated water into the sea from the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant this year is safe and secure and it will not impact Malaysia.

      The treated water released to the sea would be limited to the area within three kilometres from the power station based on a simulation, an official of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said today.

      "Therefore, there is no impact on Malaysia,” the official, who is in charge of the matter, said in a statement made available to Bernama.

      Exactly 12 years ago on March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami killed 15,900 people and more than 2,500 people are still missing. The Great Earthquake and Tsunami also triggered a nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima plant.

      Japan has been taking all necessary precautions ahead of plans to discharge treated water, as evidenced by Fukushima’s progress on safety and reconstruction since the incident 12 years ago.

      At the plant, water containing radioactive materials which is purified and treated to meet regulatory standards for radioactive materials except for tritium is called "ALPS treated water".

      The stored water treated with the "ALPS" technology and equipment would remove radionuclides with the exception of tritium.

      The timing of the discharge of the ALPS-treated water into the sea is expected to be from spring to summer of this year after the completion of construction work, the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s pre-service inspections and a full report of IAEA.

      Since the tsunami, Japan has been decommissioning and decontaminating the nuclear power station which is expected to take 30 to 40 years.

      A major step forward towards the decommissioning of the nuclear plant has been the elimination of the need for protective clothing in 96 per cent of the site.

      Based on a simulation of the diffusion of treated water into the sea, it was found that the area with higher tritium concentrations than the current level in seawater would be limited to the area within three kilometres from the power station, the official reiterated.

      "Therefore, there is no impact on Malaysia,” the official said, adding the Japanese government is taking all possible measures to ensure the safety of releasing ALPS-treated water into the ocean.

      According to the results of the radiological environmental impact assessment regarding the discharge of ALPS-treated water into the sea, the impact on the public and the environment is minimal.

      This assessment also takes into account biological concentration and long-term accumulation.

      The official also said that the impact on humans is about one-thousandth of the radiation dose received from a single dental X-ray.

      Gerry Thomas, Professor of Molecular Pathology, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, reportedly said Tritium is a form of hydrogen that is radioactive but the type of radiation that is released from tritium is very weak.

      It occurs in small amounts in nature and can also be found in small quantities in drinking water, she said.

      "If you were to drink water containing tritium it would result in a very tiny dose of radiation to the tissues in your body", she said.

      Releasing tritium from the Fukushima site into the ocean means it will become quickly diluted and that means the health effects would be negligible, much less than living in a city, drinking alcohol or being overweight, she said.

      According to news reports, although there have been concerns of contamination by fishermen living in waters near Fukushima, not a single fish species had any trace of radioactivity among 63 species tested. That means they are all safe.

      The US has announced that discharging the ALPS-treated water into the sea will have no effect on the safety of food imported from Japan.

      The Embassy of Japan in Malaysia has stated that its government is continuously taking efforts to ensure the safety and disseminate the information in a transparent manner to the international community.


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