02/11/2021, 14.56
Send to a friend

Japanese and South Korean bishops against dumping Fukushima water into the sea

In a letter to Japanese Premier Suga about the cooling water stored at the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster, which Japanese authorities would like to dump into the ocean, the Justice and Peace and Environment Councils of the two Bishops’ Conferences stress our responsibility towards future generations.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Japan and South Korea have taken a stand against the Japanese government's plan to dump into the sea millions of tonnes of cooling water stored in immense tanks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was seriously damaged by an accident in 11 March 2011.

In a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the heads of the Justice and Peace Councils and of Environment Councils of the two Bishops’ Conferences express their opposition to the “release of water containing the radioactive substance tritium into the ocean after purifying the contaminated water from Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.”

Cooling water is one of the still unresolved issues almost ten years after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Pending the plant’s decommissioning, which is proceeding slowly due to the high levels of radioactivity inside the plant, the reactors must be constantly cooled with water.

To avoid any risk of contamination, the used water is stored in a complex system of tanks. Every day, a hundred tonnes are added and the company is expected to run out of storage capacity at the plant in 2022.

For this reason, the Japanese Government wants to release the water into the sea, claiming that if properly filtered, any remaining tritium isotopes will no longer constitute a danger.

In their letter, Japanese and South Korean bishops dispute such a claim, citing studies that link tritium to stillbirths, leukaemia and Down syndrome.

For the prelates, the reassurances by Japanese authorities on the low concentrations of the radioactive substance are based on incomplete tests.

They also criticise the fact that nothing has been said about the possible long-term effects on the marine environment, which is of great concern to fishermen in the sea between Japan and the Korea Peninsula.

In the light of this, the two Bishops’ Conferences call on the authorities to examined options other than releasing the cooling water into the ocean.

“We have a responsibility to hand over to future generations a global environment where we can truly live safely and with peace of mind,” the bishops write, citing Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’.

“Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit,” the pope says. “Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice”.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
Fukushima: radioactivity among workers, water release under control
19/12/2023 16:32
Treated water from the Fukushima plant to be released in spring 2023
25/08/2021 16:28
White House to stop Beijing's "imperialist" policy in the South China Sea
24/01/2017 15:55
Japanese bishops protest release of Fukushima water
26/08/2023 10:00


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”