© Inho Shin
It is reported that Japan has plans to discharge radioactive water into the ocean due to the lack of storage for the contaminated water. This discharging process may begin as soon as 2022. However, many are concerned as to the harmful outcomes it may bring about.
This plan to discharge contaminated water can be traced back to an event that happened back in 2011. At the time, one of the most destructive nuclear disasters took place in Japan, which was caused by an earthquake followed by a tsunami of great scale. Since this event, the contaminated water from the damaged plant has been reserved in storage tanks. However, this space is running out. By the year 2022, there would be no more space left to store the contaminated water.
This is a serious problem because materials such as tritium and carbon-14 in the radioactive water may be harmful to human DNA. These hazardous elements may distort and change the normal human gene, leading to higher possibility of deformed babies, for example. Also, many fishermen argue that they will not be able to make a living if radioactive water is released into the sea.
Because of such potential consequences, neighboring countries including Korea and China have fought against Japan's proposal. In addition, a reasonable portion of Japanese citizens themselves are against the idea as well, which is why Japan has postponed making its final decision.
Other experts argue that there is no other choice than to dump the contaminated water into the Pacific, as other alternatives such as increasing the number of storage tanks on land or underground may cause even further damage. Doing so especially in a place where earthquakes occur frequently would be even riskier because of the possibility that earthquakes could cause these tanks to leak.
Furthermore, some experts also point out that tritium is actually one of the least harmful elements when compared with other radioactive elements, and that it is rarely deadly to humans or animals. At this point in time, it seems most important for Japan to decide upon the optimum solution to solve this problem― a problem that may in fact, affect the entire world.