The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, inspected this Wednesday, July 5, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and endorsed the safety of Japan’s plan to release treated radioactive water in the coming weeks. But that did not calm the concern among fishermen, not only local, but from various countries.
Puerto Morro Sama is a fishing terminal located in the province of Tacna, in southern Peru. Thousands of kilometers away is the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, devastated by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011.
Despite the distance, the local fishermen in these two places not only agree that they depend on the Pacific Ocean to supply the markets with local products. They are also united by the same concern: a plan underway to dump treated radioactive water into the sea.
The Japanese government wants to start releasing water from August, an initiative that still needs official approval from the national nuclear regulatory body, but which already has the go-ahead from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A concern that transcends borders
Local residents of the Tacna province worry that their daily livelihood will suffer in the future if Japan sticks to its controversial plan.
“I have been selling fish here for 20 years. I think it is very bad. It will wreak havoc on the fishing population. What will future generations eat?” said Susana Condori, a fish vendor.
The planet and the sea belong to all human beings and not to a single country
David Cutipa, administrator of the port of Morro Sama, is asking the Peruvian government to seek help from international organizations to persuade the Asian country to reconsider its plans.
“Our country should request international organizations (…) because we have to understand that the planet and the sea belong to all human beings and not to a single country. Japan does not own the sea,” he stated.
This summer, Japan will begin pumping Fukushima water into the ocean. The plan will see more than a million tons of treated radioactive water released and take decades to complete. So how will it work? Let’s take a look ⬇️ https://t.co/g8AhoGoxMp pic.twitter.com/2IlIv4gkHd
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 5, 2023
During a visit to the nuclear complex, Rafael Grossi revealed that the project conforms to international standards and will have an “insignificant impact” on the population and the environment, a message that he replicated in Iwaki, some 60 kilometers from the plant.
“I don’t have a magical solution to the doubts and concerns that may exist, but we do have one thing clear: we are going to stay here with you for decades to come, until the last drop of water has been safely spilled,” he said.
Some neighboring countries, such as South Korea, have also raised concerns about the threat to the environment, with Beijing emerging as the biggest critic and threatening to take action if the plan is carried out.
With Reuters, AFP and AP