Ignoring both international and domestic protests, on November 2 the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) launched the third phase of the operation to dispose of waste water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The current discharge is expected to continue until November 20, with total emissions of around 7,800 tonnes. The company said the concentration of tritium in the wastewater was within the range expected. A week ago, however, radioactive waste water was splashed on workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and two were rushed to hospital. This is proof that Japan’s claims about the “safety” of processed nuclear contaminated water cannot be trusted, and the risks in the process should not be underestimated.
In the past 12 years since the Fukushima nuclear accident, the company has repeatedly delayed reporting and covering up accidents and incidents. After the accident with radioactive waste spread on workers at the nuclear power plant, people in the fishing sector said they had lost confidence in TEPKO. The head of Fukushima Prefecture’s crisis management department said he was alarmed by the lack of coordination between Japan’s various government departments. This is probably the reason why TEPKO is “too big to fail” and continues to exist despite the constant scandals. There is a special relationship between TEPKO and the Japanese government. According to media reports, many high-ranking Japanese officials have become TEPCO consultants after their retirement, and company officials may also enter the government’s advisory group. This suggests that Japanese regulatory agencies have turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the Tokyo Electric Company.
Two months have passed since the start of the discharge of nuclear contaminated waste water into the ocean. The new incident proves the need to create a long-term oversight mechanism. If Japan is truly confident in the safety of its wastewater disposal scheme, then the country must dispose of the contaminated water in a responsible manner and support the establishment of a long-term monitoring mechanism with the full participation of all stakeholders, including independent third-party oversight. The ocean is the common home of mankind. The world should not pay for Japan’s selfishness.