Statement of solidarity against Tokyo Electric Power Company’s plans to discharge radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean

Auckland Peace Action is proud to sign and endorse this statement by Nuclear Connections Across Oceania Conference working group, calling on Japan to urgently stop the discharge of radioactive wastewater at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, into the Pacific. The Japanese government has approved TEPCO’s plan to discharge over 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater beginning in 2023. The radioactive wastewater will be discharged for approximately 30 years (from 2023 to at least 2050).

1. We call on TEPCO and the Japanese Government to immediately end its plan to discharge radioactive wastewater from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean.

2. We call on the New Zealand government to stay true to its commitment to a nuclear free Pacific, and to support other concerned Pacific governments by playing a leading role in taking a case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea against Japan concerning the proposed radioactive wastewater release from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi.

3. We seek clarity from the Japanese Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Henry Puna (the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Pacific Ocean Commissioner), and the Pacific Panel of Independent Global Experts on Nuclear Issues on the outcome of numerous meetings they had about the radioactive wastewater discharge.

4. We call for a transparent and accountable consultation process as called for by Japanese civil society groups, Pacific leaders, and regional organisations. This consultation would be between the Japanese government and its neighbours throughout the Pacific. These processes must be directed by impacted communities within Japan and throughout the Pacific to facilitate fair and open public deliberations and rigorous scientific debate.

As Nic Maclellan reports in Inside Story, early next year Japan plans to begin dumping 1.3 million tonnes of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear reactor into the Pacific Ocean. Fiercely opposed by local fishermen, seaweed farmers and residents near Fukushima, the plan has also been challenged by China, South Korea and other neighbouring states, as well as by the Pacific Islands Forum.

At their annual summit in July, island leaders appointed an independent five-member expert scientific panel to probe the project’s safety. Forum secretary-general Henry Puna, concerned about harm to the fishing industry in Japan and the wider Pacific region, has reinforced regional concern that the scientific data doesn’t justify the plan.

“Experts have advised a deferment to the impending discharge into the Pacific Ocean by Japan is necessary,” Puna said last month. “Based on that advice, our members encourage consideration for options other than discharge, while the independent panel of experts continue to further assess the safety of the discharge in light of the current data gaps.”

In a confidential report to the Pacific Islands Forum, the expert panel outlined detailed concerns about the project, arguing that any decision to proceed should be postponed. Even though Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has given the go-ahead for construction, a growing number of scientists are warning about the long-term implications of dumping more than a million tonnes of water containing radioactive isotopes into the Pacific. Continue reading.

Stuff reported ‘NZ and Pacific urged to ‘step up’ against Japan’s nuclear plan’: Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean for the next 30 years has been condemned by a Pacific alliance. The group of community members, academics, legal experts, NGOs and activists is calling on New Zealand and the Pacific to act to stop Japan.

Dr Karly Burch at the OU’s Centre for Sustainability said many people might be surprised to hear that the Japanese government has instructed Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to discharge more than 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater into the ocean from next year.

Burch said they had called on Tepco to halt its discharge plans, and the New Zealand Government to “step up against Japan”.

In June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for nuclear disarmament during her speech at the Nato Leaders’ Summit in Madrid.

New Zealand is a Pacific nation and our region bears the scars of decades of nuclear testing. It was because of these lessons that New Zealand has long declared itself proudly nuclear-free,” Ardern said.

Burch said the Government must “stay true to its dedication to a nuclear-free Pacific” by taking a case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea against Japan.

“This issue is complex and relates to nuclear safety rather than nuclear weapons or nuclear disarmament,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement on Friday.

“Japan is talking to Pacific partners in light of their concerns about the release of treated water from Fukushima and Aotearoa New Zealand supports the continuation of this dialogue.

“There is also an important role for the global expert authority on nuclear safety issues, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which Japan has invited to review and monitor its plans.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is following the reports released by the IAEA Task Force closely and has full confidence in its advice,” MFAT said.

Burch said predictive models showed radioactive particles released would spread to the northern Pacific.

“To ensure they do not cause biological or ecological harm, these uranium-derived radionuclides need to be stored securely for the amount of time it takes for them to decay to a more stable state. For a radionuclide such as Iodine-129, this could be 160 million years.”

Burch said Tepco had been using advanced liquid processing system technology to filter uranium-derived radionuclides from the wastewater that had been cooling the damaged reactors since 2011.

Burch said the Japanese government was aware in August 2018 that the treated wastewater contained long-lasting radionuclides such as Iodine-129 in quantities exceeding government regulations.

She has called for clarity from Tokyo, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Oceans Commission, and a Pacific panel of independent global experts on nuclear issues on the outcome of numerous meetings they have had about the discharge.

“We want a transparent and accountable consultation process which would include Japanese civil society groups, Pacific leaders and regional organisations.

“These processes must be directed by impacted communities within Japan and throughout the Pacific to facilitate fair and open public deliberations and rigorous scientific debate,” Burch said.

The Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general, Henry Puna, has been approached for comment. Read the unabridged article.

Don’t contaminate the oceans with radioactivity! International Forum


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