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Environment 101: Deadly Radioactive Sea Dump

radioactive Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

(The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, conveniently situated next to the Pacific Ocean is now using the same ocean as dumping ground for radioactive waste. Image source:

In case you had opted to your waste time and concentrate on the sleazy “alleged sex video of an opposition leader” over real issues facing the world, here is a quick recap of something that happened last few days:-

Workers at Japan’s quake-hit nuclear plant have begun dumping water with low levels of contamination into the sea to free up room to store more highly radioactive water leaking at the site.

About 11,500 tonnes of water will be released into the sea at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The water to be released into the sea contains some 100 times the legal limit of radiation – a relatively low level, says the BBC’s Roland Buerk in Tokyo.

“As it is not harmful to people’s health and as it is necessary to avert an even bigger danger, we decided it was inevitable,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa).


And this:-

Tepco says the low-radioactive water it intends to deliberately release into the sea has iodine-131 levels that are about 100 times the legal limit.

But it stressed in a news conference on Monday that if people ate fish and seaweed caught near the plant every day for a year, their radiation exposure would still be just 0.6 millisieverts. Normal background radiation levels are on the order of 2 millisieverts per year.

Getting the mildly contaminated water off-site would permit the emergency staff to then start pumping out the turbine building and the much more radioactive liquid in its basement.


An interesting statement – “that if people ate fish and seaweed caught near the plant every day for a year, their radiation exposure would still be just 0.6 millisieverts”. Did they test this hypothesis on a real person or it is all about statistics & formulas or statement made on assumption that people are dumb?

The latest news from Japan is that they have managed to stop the nuclear leak and if we think that we have overcome the worse, this is rather unsettling:-

“The situation is not under control yet,” said Thomas Grieder, Asia analyst at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

“Tepco’s decision to displace the contaminated water into the ocean reflected the urgency of clearing the turbine buildings and trenches of radioactive water so as not to damage equipment needed for restoration of cooling systems.”

“It’s only going to get worse. They are going to be forced to make a tough decision soon.

What they are going to have to release is likely to be highly radioactive. The situation could politically be very ugly in a week,” said Murray Jennex at San Diego State University, who specialises in nuclear containment.

“To put the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in perspective, Chernobyl involved a single operating reactor core,” said Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear, a US radioactive waste watchdog.

“Fukushima Daiichi now involves three reactors in various stages of meltdown and containment breach, and multiple (spent fuel storage) pools at risk of fire,” said Kamps.


11,500 million litres of low-radioactive water (as reported, the equivalent size of 5 Olympic sized swimming pool) has been officially dumped into the Pacific Ocean and untold amount may have been leaked into the ocean since day one of the tsunamis.

Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that the low-radioactive water is not harmful to people’s health but have long term effect of this has been studied? What about the effect on marine life around the place where the low-radioactive water was dumped? Have we not learned anything from the Chernobyl disaster where the effect on health is still felt some 25 years after the disaster?

India took a more drastic action by banning all food imports coming from Japan for 3 months or more. What about in Malaysia? I’m surprised we have not raised the alarm although the sale of seafood in the local market has dropped drastically.

Our Health Minister had said that “Malaysia is taking steps to ensure the imported food from Japan is not contaminated by the radiation leaked from the Japanese nuclear power plant” but did not disclose further details.

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