Posted on 24 August 2023
This morning, Japan will begin the process of releasing over 1.3 million tonnes of treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. This water has been accumulating since the Fukushima plant was destroyed in the 2011 tsunami, and releasing it is estimated to take 30-40 years.
A safety review released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Japan’s plans are consistent with their standards. Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has said "I am satisfied that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report is reassuring enough to dispel any fears of any untoward degradation of the ocean environment that would adversely affect lives and ecosystems in our precious blue Pacific."
However, this decision has been divisive among Pacific nations and Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown acknowledges this, saying “It is not lost on me that there remains diverging views and responses in the international community, and within our Blue Pacific region.” He says Forum leaders and Foreign Forum Ministers will continue discuss the development in upcoming meetings.