Sydney, Jan 18 (EFE).- Pacific island nations urged Japan on Wednesday to delay the release of wastewater from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant amid fears of possible risks to the fishing industry, people’s health and the environment.
According to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which brings together 17 nations in the region, experts believe that more information is needed about Japan’s plans to start dumping “treated” nuclear wastewater from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean this year.
“Independent global experts believe that more data and information is needed to determine safety, particularly for human health and the environment,” the PIF wrote on social media after holding a virtual scientific seminar to discuss the issue.
Japan’s government announced last week that more than 1 million tonnes of treated contaminated water from Fukushima, destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will be discharged into the ocean in the northern spring or summer.
The move has been vehemently opposed by local fishermen and has raised concerns among neighboring island nations, which are still grappling with the ravages of nuclear tests carried out in the Pacific decades ago.
“The region is steadfast in its position that there should be no discharge until all parties verify through scientific data that such discharge is safe,” said former Cook Islands prime minister and PIF secretary general Henry Puna in his speech at the seminar.
The PIF also reiterated its concern that the release of the water could impact the region’s fishing grounds, on which the island economies largely depend, and that Pacific island peoples continued to endure the long-term impacts of nuclear testing on a daily basis.
“We must prevent action that will lead or mislead us towards another major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others,” emphasized Puna, who asserted that he has “no doubt” that “more time is absolutely necessarily to fully consider all implications of such a decision before choosing the course of action.” EFE