UN rights experts express "deep regret" over Japan's decision to release Fukushima wastewater

Source: Xinhua| 2021-04-16 03:24:55|Editor: huaxia

GENEVA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- UN human rights experts on Thursday expressed their deep regret over Japan's decision to dump into the sea the radioactive wastewater from Fukushima nuclear plant, saying the discharge could impact millions of lives and livelihoods in the Pacific region.

In a joint statement, Marcos A. Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on right to food, and David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, expressed concerns that the "one million tonnes of contaminated water" could foster "considerable risks to the full enjoyment of human rights of concerned populations in and beyond the borders of Japan."

"The Government's decision is very concerning given the warnings about the effect of such a discharge on so many people's lives and the environment at large," said the UN experts in their statement.

"It comes after years of discussion and concerns raised by local communities -- particularly the fishing community who was already severely hit by the 2011 (nuclear) disaster," they noted.

The Japanese government argued that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), an advanced system for pumping and filtration, was capable of removing radioactive isotopes present in the wastewater.

However, the experts stressed that the filtered water still contain radioactive carbon-14 as well as strontium-90 and tritium, all of which having harmful radioactive charges that ALPS could not remove.

The experts said that the water processing technology known as ALPS had failed to completely remove radioactive concentrations in most of the contaminated water stored in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

"A first application ALPS failed to clean the water below regulatory levels and there are no guarantees that a second treatment will succeed," they said, adding that "the radioactive hazards of tritium have been underestimated and could pose risks to humans and the environment for over 100 years."

"We remind Japan of its international obligations to prevent exposure to hazardous substances, to conduct environmental impact assessments of the risks that the discharge of water may have, to prevent transboundary environmental harms, and to protect the marine environment," the experts concluded. Enditem