China slams Japan over Fukushima wastewater leak

Beijing, Feb 8 (EFE).- China on Thursday criticized Japan for its “chaotic” handling of the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant following a recent accidental leak of radioactive wastewater at the facility.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the wastewater leak on Wednesday once again demonstrated Japan’s “chaotic” management of the damaged nuclear facility.

“Japan has the responsibility to make public the incident in a timely, comprehensive and transparent manner and responsibly provide the details of it,” he said.

He expressed concern regarding Japan’s “safety” measures concerning the discharge of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, urging Tokyo to address “international concerns” by discharging the untreated water in a “responsible way” and fully cooperating with neighboring countries.

“The discharge plan will last for 30 years or even longer. Can Japan ensure safety and be responsible in the future discharge management? We have every reason to be concerned and a big question mark has been put over this,” he said.

Wang stressed the importance of international involvement by independent entities in the supervision process of the facility to prevent “irrevocable consequences” stemming from the discharges into the ocean.

On Wednesday, an estimated 5,500 liters of wastewater leaked from a cesium absorption tower used to treat contaminated water, after a valve was accidentally left open during a cleaning work, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The water, leaked into the Fukushima plant compound, could contain up to 220 times the maximum level of radioactive materials set by Japanese authorities.

TEPCO reported that while there might be “minor contamination” to the soil around the absorption tower, there is no risk to the public, and the surrounding environment remains “unaffected.”

In August last year, the Fukushima plant, damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, began releasing large amounts of treated water into the Pacific Ocean under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Before the water is discharged, it undergoes a complex filtering process that removes most of the harmful radioactive substances, except tritium, which is an isotope found naturally.

Over the years, millions of tons of contaminated water have accumulated at the plant’s facilities, stemming from the cooling work of damaged reactors and the fuel melted during the 2011 nuclear accident, as well as rainwater leaks.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 tanks of treated water on the plant grounds, and the discharge process is expected to take at least 30 years to complete. EFE


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