Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan's fishermen rejected any release of contaminated water from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)'s Fukushima atomic station into the ocean, a step the country's atomic regulator last week indicated may be needed.
JF Zengyoren, a union of Japanese fisheries cooperatives, said in a statement submitted to Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi that the discharge of any irradiated water from the Dai-Ichi plant would be unacceptable, even if contamination levels were brought below legal limits for ocean dumping.
On 11 March 2011, an earthquake hit the eastern coast of Japan, causing a huge tsunami with waves of over 40 meters high, hitting the Fukushima area and its nuclear power plants.
The 9-magnitude earthquake had a catastrophic impact: 15,850 dead, 6,011 wounded and 3,287 missing; 800,000 buildings destroyed; fires in many areas, roads and railways damaged; dams breached. Four million families in the Northeast were left without electricity and a million without water.
The disaster knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, three of which melted down. Water is now being pumped in to cool the reactors, but storing the resultant large quantities of radioactive water has proved a challenge for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).
Meanwhile, South Korea expanded an import ban on Japanese fisheries products today. South Korea's import ban now includes all items from Fukushima and seven other nearby prefectures, regardless of whether they showed contamination, according to an e-mailed statement from the Prime Minister's Office.
"The measure comes as our people's concerns are growing over the fact that hundreds of tons of radiation-contaminated water are leaked daily from the site of Japan's nuclear accident in Fukushima," Yonhap reported earlier today, citing the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.