(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2011, disaster struck Japan. A 9.1-magnitude underwater earthquake struck, lasting for approximately six minutes. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the country. The violent shaking led to the Tōhoku tsunami, a natural disaster that produced waves more than 100 feet high. As it crashed into the island, it killed upwards of 20,000 people and left hundreds of thousands without homes.
When the waves crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, they caused a meltdown. More than a decade later, the cleanup is now beginning. Authorities are doing something incredibly controversial, and China has now responded.
In July, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved Japan’s plans to release contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. The agency conducted a study, and its report revealed the water met IAEA Safety Standards.
The decision was controversial, but Japan and the IAEA decided to proceed anyway. On August 24, the Japanese government began releasing the radioactive wastewater into the ocean. The discharge is one of the steps officials must take before decommissioning the plant.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power released a statement informing the public that the release began just after 1 p.m. local time. It claimed there weren’t any abnormalities detected.
China Takes Action
As the water was being released, the Chinese government announced it was banning seafood originating from Japan. The prohibition took effect immediately, and all imports of products from the sea will be impacted by it.
The Associated Press reported that Chinese officials stated they would “dynamically adjust relevant regulatory measures as appropriate” to prevent the contaminated water from risking their “health and food safety” moving forward.
In response to the ban, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, the president of Tokyo Electric Power, announced the company would pay business owners in Japan for the damages they are suffering as a result of the bans from “the foreign government.” He said he intends to send China the appropriate studies so that they can lift the ban quickly.
Contaminated Water Not the Only Problem
In addition to the contaminated water, Tokyo Electric Power will also have to clean up radioactive soil and molten fuel before the plant can be decommissioned. Removing the radioactive fuel debris from the reactors’ core is described as an “unprecedented and difficult challenge never attempted anywhere in the world.” That is scheduled for a six-month period that will begin in October.
The government needs to find a permanent storage facility for the radioactive soil.
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