Chinese FM urges Japan to immediately stop construction of nuclear wastewater discharge project
Published: May 17, 2022 07:32 PM Updated: May 17, 2022 07:25 PM
Tanks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant store nuclear-contaminated wastewater. Photo: Xinhua
Tanks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant store nuclear-contaminated wastewater. Photo: Xinhua News Agency

China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged the Japanese government to immediately terminate the construction of the nuclear-contaminated wastewater discharge project near the Fukushima nuclear power plant by Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), stressing that countries across the Pacific have expressed serious concern and firm opposition to Japan's wastewater-dumping decision.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin noted at Tuesday's press conference that it is irresponsible for Tokyo Electric Power Company to push ahead with the project of dumping nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea in disregard of the serious concerns of local residents and the international community.

Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) announced on Monday that it will discuss a draft review of the Tokyo Electric Power Company's plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea at its regular meeting on May 18. If agreed, the plan could be approved after a process including soliciting public opinions.

The Japanese government has so far failed to provide a convincing explanation on the legitimacy of the discharge program, on data reliability of the contaminated water, on the effectiveness of purification devices, and on the uncertainty of environmental impact, Wang said.

Given the potential harm of the wastewater to the marine ecological environment, food safety and human health, opposition voices from the Pacific Rim countries and the Japanese public have never stopped since the decision was made one a year ago.

Countries including China, South Korea, Russia and some Pacific island nations have expressed concerns; multiple Japanese civil organizations launched a petition with the signatures of 180,000 Japanese people to resist the project, the spokesperson noted.

According to TEPCO, the total amount of the nuclear-contaminated water in Fukushima reached 1.293 million tons at the end of March and continued to increase, and the contaminated water would be diluted with seawater and discharged.

It is estimated that 254 liters of clean seawater are needed for each liter of nuclear-contaminated wastewater, so the total amount of contaminated water Japan will eventually release into the ocean will exceed 300 million tons.

Wang stated Japan should pay attention to the concerns of the international community and the Japanese people, revoke the wrong decision, stop all preparations for the discharge project, and fulfill its due international obligations.

Global Times