The 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan was one of the worst in history. An earthquake-induced tsunami crushed a nuclear plant, which led the nuclear fuel to melt down and caused widespread contamination. The government evacuated the area and began a containment program, which includes constantly flushing the reactor core with water to keep it from imploding.
But then the water is contaminated and must be handled. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, and the government began storing the water in tanks on site. They now have more than 1,000 tanks of radioactive water sitting around and have to decide what to do with it.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has a plan. Dump it into the ocean.
The ministry claims the water has been decontaminated through several rounds of filtration, and now contains only small amounts of tritium which isn’t harmful to humans.
This is the same government that told the world for years that the majority of the water in the tanks had been decontaminated, but then last summer reversed its position to say on 20% had been decontaminated. Last month, authorities from the ministry said that more than 70% of the water contains radioactive material other than tritium — and at higher levels than the government considers safe for human health.
They mistakenly didn’t change their filtration filters often enough early in the process, which left higher concentrations of contaminants in the water than they’d thought.
But don’t worry, the government has a plan. It will re-filter the water to remove the dangerous material, and then it will be safe to dump into the ocean.
At this point, it’s hard to believe them.