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Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say Tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

Tokyo Electric is not telling the facts to the public in regards to the hazardous material, Tritium, as well as the other radioactive material being released into the Pacific.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, used in research, fusion reactors and neutron generators.  The radioactive decay product of tritium is a low energy beta that cannot penetrate the outer dead layer of human skin. Therefore, the main hazard associated with tritium is internal exposure from inhalation or ingestion.

With contaminated water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear complex continuing to pour into the Pacific, scientists are concerned about how that radioactivity might affect marine life. Although the ocean’s capacity to dilute radiation is huge, signs are that nuclear isotopes are already moving up the local food chain.

The discovery of elevated concentrations of radioactive cesium and iodine in small fish several dozen miles south of Fukushima, and high levels of radioactivity in seawater 25 miles offshore, were discovered by Scientists back in 2011.

“Given that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is on the ocean, and with leaks and runoff directly to the ocean, the impacts on the ocean will exceed those of Chernobyl, which was hundreds of miles from any sea,” said Ken Buesseler, senior scientist in marine chemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Buessler and other experts say this much is clear: Both short-lived radioactive elements, such as iodine-131, and longer-lived elements — such as cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years — can be absorbed by phytoplankton, zooplankton, kelp, and other marine life and then be transmitted up the food chain, to fish, marine mammals, and humans, Reuters reports.

Some 770,000 tons (metric) of tritium-containing water is currently stored in 580 tanks at the plant, reported the Japan Times. Toxic water at the plant is currently being treated through a processing system that can remove 62 different types of radioactive material, except tritium.

That is, if you believe TEPCO in regards to their processing system, the system has been shut down several times due to process failure.  At one point, the failure in the system, known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System, leaked over 400 tons of radioactive water into the ocean per day.

The reality is TEPCO has no way of dealing with the contaminated water and their ALP system has not been effective as they have reported, so now they believe the only solution is to dump it into the Pacific Ocean and allow the ocean to dilute it.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has reported that seawater containing radioactive iodine-131 at 5 million times the legal limit has been detected near the plant. According to the Japanese news service, NHK, a recent sample also contained 1.1 million times the legal level of radioactive cesium-137.

Radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid in humans and marine mammals — or in the case of fish, thyroid tissue — and is also readily absorbed by seaweed and kelp.  All of which, are consumed by humans on a daily basis.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it is not conducting any monitoring of the marine environment for radiation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring airborne radiation, but its spokespeople were unable to say whether the EPA was monitoring the marine environment as well.

Just let all of this sink in, nobody is monitoring this like they should be, TEPCO releases very limited data that only shows what they want it to show and people remain unaware of the dangers in the Pacific Ocean.

We do not know the facts on how this will effect the Pacific, however, with what we know of Fukushima and the radioactive material, it all points to global consequences of a magnitude that dwarfs Chernobyl.

I am in no way some tree hugging hippie, I am however concerned about what we are leaving for future generations.

God Bless.


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