[NEWS IN-DEPTH] Impact of Japan’s plan to release nuclear waste water into Pacific

about 1 million tons of water
contaminated where the radiation is in storage at Japan’s tsunami wrecked
Fukushima nuclear power plant and the amount is increasing by an average of
some 170 tons each day the Japanese government now close to running out of
space for it announced a draft proposal on Monday that suggests a controlled
release and controlled evaporation of the nuclear waste water into the Pacific
Ocean and into the air the announcement has stirred up serious concerns among
many and today we look into the impact of Japan’s seemingly life-threatening
plan with doctors hug union professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National
University welcome to the program great to be on your show first of all could
you tell us what exactly nuclear waste water is what elements does the water
consist of and how hazardous is it it is pretty much hazardous in the sense that
it’s been really dirtied by those elements you just named them like
uranium plutonium and other than those materials there are cesium strontium
barium xenon you just name them even treat them they
are not just thermally hot but also very radioactivity hot which determines they
emit or continue to emit a lot of radiation alpha raised beta gamma
neutrons they’re really hazardous to our health if they turn out to penetrate our
body then they tend to really ionize ourselves into ions which means we are
going to be electrified bit by bit so it’s really a killing element that we’re
talking about very alarming indeed Japan’s economy and Industry ministry
made a draft proposal on Monday suggesting what it calls a controlled
release of the nuclear waste water into the Pacific Ocean it said the nuclear
waste water will first be diluted with contaminated water to lower the
radioactivity concentration how do you see this method would it be effective
enough to to lower the risks of of radioactivity I don’t think so
what is exactly controlled what does he mean there’s nothing like controlled
release because it is going to be released anyway it’s just a matter of
time and I was told they are going to put in some kind of fresh water but how
about those polluting elements they’re still there so it’s just like a word
game there’s no substance in it if these substances elements are there they turn
out to remain there for long periods of time
for example cesium may tend to stay there for 30 minutes 30 hours 30 days
and then 30 years after 30 years the amount may become just half but still
half is there so it’s just a neverending story so diluting or controlling do not
have any technical mean it’s just a lip service oh it sounds plausible but it
does not going to happen because they are there so again my question what do
they mean by control release there’s nothing like control is it’s just a
release may be they’re trying to just postpone the period of time extend a
pair of time but still release is released so in your perspective it’s
physically impossible to to dilute and actually lower the concentration of
radioactive no they’re still there it’s just a matter of time if you wait
30 more years then the amount may become just have but still half is there still
there so well until the time passed like 300 years there’s no way of dilating or
a control release so the hazardous substances will still be there even
after the dilutions hundred years at the least now the big question is of course
how dumping 1 million tons of nuclear waste
water would impact Japan’s closest neighbor South Korea how
long would it take to arrive to waters off South Korea and what are some of the
expected damage on South Korean people’s health as well as the environment
surrounding South Korea of course including marine products it’s a good
question but hard to answer because it may take time and we need to think about
the total amount to release we call this source term it’s just huge you’re
talking about actually 1.4 million tons of wastewater can imagine that’s like 77
0 Olympic sized swimming post is huge it’s literally impossible to do anything
about it if they’re going to release those are amounts of water into the
Pacific Ocean then what will it be happening it will be transported over –
probably to the west coast of the United States Canada and Mexico it may take
three years three years but there’s a catch some of it might directly come
down to the crater region and then may stagnate in the East China Sea and then
they’ll be coming back now the problem begins half of it might come back to
where it started from but the other half might penetrate through Korea Strait
Korea Strait is between the Korean Peninsula and Kyushu okay then half of
it is going to be coming in to South Sea and East Sea that literally means that
our territorial sea R is going to be in fact contaminated within a matter of six
months to 12 months it’s just a matter of time and then how much will be again
it’s just a matter of uncertainty but still we have to be prepared for at
least half of the radioactive material being
transported over to east and south coast of the Korean Peninsula the Japanese
government also suggested a controlled evaporation of nuclear contaminated
water into the air how safe or how not safe is this method
it’s almost the same as releasing into the ocean I think it’s better
evaporation means it’s just what is it I have a question about their proposal
because evaporation is just boiling water then all those water will be
evaporate but still the contaminated elements tend to stay at the bottom I’m
curious about what they’re going to do about those remaining or remnant
materials down there I think they’re going to trash it
so evaporation again me it’s just nothing I lose any physical meaning to
that way of getting rid of all those materials because it is going to be
evaporated but just water is going to be water is pure it does not do any harm
twist the remaining elements are the ones that are going to hurt us they are
going to be there so they’re not saying anything about those remaining items
just evaporating it seems like they’re doing something but apparently they are
doing nothing so we have to be very careful about what they’re talking about
evaporation even worse than release water so once again japan’s what japan
claims as a controlled evaporation is again a method that has that is very
risky and that will be hazardous not just risky but it’s just it does not
have any effect it’s just um doesn’t have any impact on releasing or reducing
via mouse it’s just um show political show what I’m saying is that even after
all this evaporation those elements are going to be
remaining down there and they have to say what they’re going to do about those
remaining animals bottom at the bottom they’re not saying anything until they
say something about this then it’s just a false statement so whether it’s a
releasing or evaporation either way the dangerous radioactivity radioactive
materials will still be there exactly the best iam that’s the point now Japan
held years of discussions with experts to find the best way to get rid of the
vast amount of nuclear waste water and of the options discussed included
electric decomposition and underground storage methods but Japan ruled out
those options citing technical difficulties and costs how do you see
these two methods could these methods be safer first of all electric
decomposition or something technical term is electrolysis which really means
that they are going to again separate the elements into positive and negative
ions everything is positive and negative they are put together they’re trying to
put them apart now if they’re talking about in terms of maybe thousand tons
that’s doable that must or may be doable in the lab scale but if you’re talking
about 1.4 1.5 million tons permit by next year
it’s just practically undoable okay so that might be practicable for probably
less than 1% of what’s remaining there but if you’re talking about the
wholesome again it’s just a um they’re just over ambitious about their approach
and scientific method it simply defies any scientific method so far because
it’s just huge second of all what was it underground storage I think they have to
be doing something about these they have to make some change to the geological
formation and if you know the Japan’s act
holy geological formation they’re part of the Ring of Fire
if they’re not there are going to do anything about the geological structure
they may be calling for an earthquake it’s just um unbelievable they’re making
this kind of suggestion they are not going to do that I don’t think so so
it’s not technically but also politically and from the public
acceptance point of view this underground storage is just unthinkable
it’s not to opal at all so I’m really wondering what they’re are thinking
about um maybe they’re going nowhere maybe they got lost in the middle of
nowhere this may be more appropriate expression I would say unfortunately in
your perspective what is the safest way to do to store or dispose the nuclear
waste water thing is that they should have caught the train before the train
had started or taken off it’s already taken off there’s nothing left but
currently what they can do though is still it’s pretty late and it got pretty
much spread all over but still they need to be doing some caving work and all
that and then they must be trying to really contain therefore crippled
appliance inside the sarcophagus for example it’s just um like a concrete
coffin that’s the only way in Europe European countries actually helped
Ukraine government to build up the kind of they called it containment structure
to really retain all the materials inside that structure building and that
that what they did three years ago I think they should be doing this that’s
the last hope like containment structure but they would need four of them not
just one that’s the problem but they still have to do that that’s
probably the only way around this problem until then control East or
evaporation are not going to help at all it’s just extending the period of time
during which we have to be really organizing over what has been done or
what has not been done in the past at the right time at the right place
alright thank you so much dr. Saul for your insights tonight let’s keep close
tabs on how things develop from this point thanks for having me

1 thought on “[NEWS IN-DEPTH] Impact of Japan’s plan to release nuclear waste water into Pacific

  1. Gee, they forgot to mention that every single power plant in the world releases this same tritiated water into their respective waterways. But when Fukushima wants to do it the world has a hissy fit.

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