The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the disaster-struck Fukushima plant on Tuesday and Wednesday to evaluate the safety of Japan's contentious plan to discharge radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) carried out inspection work at Japan's Fukushima of its plan to discharge the treated water into the sea, some residents and local NGOs voiced their concerns about safety.
The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) announced last year that releasing the water will start in the spring of 2023.
"They had narrowed it down into two options -- to evaporate the water or release it into the ocean. Now, after a year, they have decided to release the water into the ocean without considering public opinion and concerns. We had to raise our voices and take various actions to try to stop the plan," said Tsutomu Yoneyama, a member of the Tarachine Radiation Lab.
The Tarachine Radiation Lab is an NGO established by a group of local residents to track nuclear radiation and monitor environmental contamination.
The radioactive water was treated and purified through a process known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which filters 62 kinds of radionuclides, except tritium.
As a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, tritium is harmless in small amounts but harmful to humans in very large doses. Locals are worried that tritium will affect the environment and marine life on the pacific coast.
"There is no clear explanation on how this is going to be done. Will they pour ten tons a day, or 1 ton, or 200 liters? There's been no explanation about the steps involved. They just made a decision and said, 'it's okay to do it, right?'. This is not a concern just for people in this area, but also for Fukushima and other areas along the Pacific," a local fisherman whose full name was not given told CGTN.
Despite the concerns, the IAEA team will report its findings at the end of April, local fishermen are still worried that releasing the treated water into the ocean would further damage the fishing industry in Fukushima.