The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was the site of one of the worst meltdowns in history after a tsunami damaged the facility in 2011, forcing the evacuation for more than 80,000 residents who lived in the nearby area. In the wake of the disaster, officials have debated how to properly dispose of the plant’s contaminated water.
Greenpeace has petitioned over 180,000 people to oppose a bid by the Japanese government and plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to dump loads of radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The non-governmental organization has argued that releasing the contaminated cooling water into the ocean will have serious, long-term consequences for both the local communities and the environment and those abroad.
Kazue Suzuki, the climate change and energy tsar at Greenpeace Japan, reiterated the group’s concerns via a Monday statement on the matter, noting that “the decision to release the contaminated water into the ocean will leave huge troubles for the future.”
“The current regulation does not limit the total amount of radioactivity to be released and allows releasing too much only if it is diluted,” Suzuki noted. “Some of the radionuclides to be released have a lifespan of thousands or tens of thousands of years.”