“Say NO to the dumping of Fukushima’s radioactive water to the Pacific Ocean!”
Urgent Call for Action from Japan Congress against A- and H- Bombs (GENSUIKIN)
The Japanese government has been ready to dispose radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contaminated by tritium and other radioactive materials to the Pacific Ocean. We, GENSUIKIN, would like to ask you for your support to prevent this reckless attempt by the government.
Please send us your comments criticizing the Japan’s plan to us (e-mail: email@example.com) by January 31st 2021. We will submit your comments when we will have negotiation with the Japanese government requesting to halt the disposal.
Please also reach out to your elected officials and request that they send a message to the Japanese Consulate or Embassy in your area. The Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea has already passed a resolution requesting that the Japanese government establish safer measures when processing the contaminated water.
We have struggled against any uses of nuclear technology by any country, including the commercial use of nuclear energy such as nuclear power plants, on the basis of thought that “nuclear and humanity cannot coexist”. As you may know, on March 11, 2011, in the Great East Japan Earthquake, four of six nuclear reactors operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had core meltdowns caused by loss of cooling power. Due to the high radiation dose at the facility – 42 Sv in the containment vessel and 5150 mSv in the buildings –in it is impossible to grasp the situation of the core while cooling water is being injected to prevent criticality. In such a situation, it is seriously dangerous for cooling water to be contaminated by high-level radioactive materials and accumulated to approximately 1.23 million cubic meter and possibly leak into the groundwater.
After decontamination by an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), the contaminated water is stored in tanks at the nuclear site. At present, there are 1044 tanks at the site. Astonishingly, to remove the contaminated water, the Japanese government and TEPCO plan to dispose of it by dumping it into the Pacific Ocean. In pointing out the below problems, we organize opposition movements in solidarity with residents in Fukushima.
Hitachi’s Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is not able to eliminate radioactive materials completely, especially tritium.
ALPS is supposed to eliminate other radioactive materials, however, in August 2018 Japanese media reported that it had consistently failed to eliminate a variety of other radioactive elements, including iodine-129, ruthenium-106, and strontium. It has been revealed that, in 70% of the tanks, the amount of radioactive substances present is 20,000 times the standard. TEPCO promises it will conduct secondary processing to lower the amount of radioactive substances to below standard level, but still has yet to keep its promise; thus the disposal of the contaminated water is still a dangerous act. Tritium cannot be eliminated by ALPS at all, TEPCO estimates that there is 860 trillion becquerel of tritium in the contaminated water as a whole.
There are varied opinions on how hazardous tritium is. It is often pointed out that tritium absorbed through food has negative effects on cells and damages DNA. TEPCO claims that it will dilute tritium-contaminated water to below standard level and dispose of it into the ocean; however, the absolute quantity of tritium in the water has not changed, and it is pointed out that tritium’s dangerous effects of bioaccumulation of radioactive material on fish can be seen throughout the food chain.
The disposal of contaminated water to the ocean violates international law; for example, article 207 and article 213 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as article 1 and article 4 of the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter of 1972 and article 4 of the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972（London Protocol: LP）.
The “United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” requests that “States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources” in article 207. The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter of 1972 and London Protocol: (LP) forbid dumping any concentration of radioactive material into the sea. However, insisting that “discharge” is different from “disposal”, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) tried to approve dumping into the ocean without consensus. As Russia disposed of 900 cubic meters of low Level radioactive waste liquid on October 6th, 1993, the JAEC decided that Japan would hereafter not have the option to dispose of low level radioactive waste into the sea. GENSUIKIN regards the disposal of Fukushima contaminated water to the ocean as a violation of international law, and breaking the promise made to international society to abandon the disposal of wastes into the ocean.
Japanese government and TEPCO abandon seeking other measures dealing with the contaminated water. They choose only dispose it to sea as it is the easiest and cheapest measure.
TEPCO argues that it will become too difficult to store the contaminated water due to a shortage of land required for holding tanks. However, it seems that they are making no effort to get land. There are areas which are difficult to inhabit due to contaminating radioactive materials disposed by the nuclear accident in Fukushima while there is some more usable land in the nuclear power plant sites. Furthermore, there are more options for keeping space for the holding tanks. One such option is to use technology such as “Grease Solidification”, first implemented in the Savannah River Site Disposal Facility in U.S., which solidifies highly tritium-contaminated water to be buried. TEPCO and the Japanese government have not considered these costly resolutions at all and have maintained disposal to sea as the only option. It is not acceptable.
In August 2015, in responding to a request from Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations stating that “After the processing of radioactive contaminated water by ALPS, TEPCO is responsible for holding it in tanks in the nuclear power plant sites and must not dispose of the water into the sea without consent from fisheries and Japanese people”, TEPCO stated that “Without agreement from stakeholders, we will not dispose of any water and after processing by ALPS, the water will be held in the tanks at the site”. The disposal of water into the sea is an act of betrayal to the fisheries.
Japan Fisheries Cooperatives and Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations has unanimously passed a resolution stating that “they firmly oppose the disposal of contaminated water into the sea”. Moreover, Fukushima Prefecture Federation of forestry cooperatives and Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives strongly oppose the disposal as well. Nineteen local assemblies in Fukushima Prefecture have submitted a written opinion opposing the disposal. There is no agreement on the disposal among stakeholders which is a precondition of TEPCO’s promise to implement the disposal. TEPCO must not force the disposal.
As we explain above, there are many problems about the disposal of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, therefore, there are no international and national agreements about it. In facing strong opposition to the disposal, the Japanese government postponed a cabinet council decision implementing the disposal which was expected to be decided last October. There is strong opposition abroad. Whether the Japanese government is forced to abandon the disposal depends on opposition from public opinion. GENSUIKIN would like to do our best in having the government abandon the disposal
Japan Congress Against A and H-Bombs (GENSUIKIN) was established in 1965, and it is one of the largest anti-nuclear and peace organizations in Japan. GENSUIKIN has local organizations as members, consisting of labor unions, women’s organizations, youth organizations and civil society groups in all 47 prefectures of Japan.
GENSUIKIN has public meetings annually in Yaizu-city in Shizuoka Prefecture since Yaizu-city was the mother port for the “Lucky Dragon No. 5” whose crew suffered from nuclear fallout resulting from the nuclear test in Bikini Atoll in 1954. The anti-nuclear movement in Japan emerged from the nuclear suffering caused by nuclear tests. There was a huge signature-collecting campaign demanding to ban nuclear weapons. Not only progressive and liberal political groups, but also conservative community organizations, participated and led the campaign which became a huge national movement.
Through the movement, the miserable reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused by nuclear bombings in 1945 was revealed to Japanese people, and the voices of the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki requesting to ban nuclear weapons were heard over Japan. The humanitarian consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki triggered a strong national movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.
GENSUIKIN conference is held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August annually to commemorate the atomic bombings. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011, we now have additional GENSUIKIN conferences in Fukushima to achieve nuclear phase-out as well.
GENSUIKIN actively makes efforts to achieve nuclear phase-out and we firmly believe that “nuclear and humanity cannot co-exist”. In fact, and unfortunately, the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident and the Chernobyl nuclear accident demonstrate there are disastrous consequences if a nuclear power plant is broken down by any cause. While we argue for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants systemically, we demand that energy policies be changed to promote renewable energy. We support and collaborate with people suffering from Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident, including those forced to evacuate for a long time.
Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
We have pursued steady steps to abolish nuclear weapons. It is important to change the policy of the Japanese government whose first priority is to remain protected under the nuclear umbrella of the United States, as well as to persuade the five nuclear-weapon states in NPT and other nuclear states outside of it to abolish nuclear weapons. The Japanese government in particular has already accumulated huge amounts of plutonium been trying to establish a nuclear fuel cycle by building reprocessing plants in Japan. We demand that the Japanese government not rely on nuclear security and abandon the nuclear fuel cycle plan to demonstrating morality as a country suffered from a nuclear attack to appeal to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Solidarity with Hibakusha
It is important to support Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) regarding their health and living and it is critical to share their experiences and pass them down to younger generations. Thus we are closely cooperating with the second and third generations of Hibakusha to support their activity. At the same time, since there are a huge number of Hibakusha all over the world who continue to suffer from past nuclear tests, uranium mining and nuclear accidents, it is important to strengthen our collaboration with them. We invite Hibakusha from all over the world, such as the South Pacific, to GENSUIKIN conference to share our experiences..
Member Organizations of GENSUIKIN:
All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union（JICHIRO）
Japan Teachers’ Union（JTU）
General Federation of Private Railway Workers’ Unions of Japan（PRU）
All Japan Water Supply Works Union
Japanese Federation of Forrest and Workers Union（JFFWU）
National Federation of Automobile Transport Workers’ Unions
Japan broadcasting labour Union
LAFGO (Labor Federation of Government Related Organizations)
All Printing Bureau Labour Union
National Railway Workers’ Union（NRU）
All Japan Dockworker’s Union (JDU)
Japan Construction and Transtry Workers’ Solidarity Union(CTSU)