Japan will start releasing into the sea more than 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant on August 24.
About water discharge from Fukushima Nuclear Plant
- The plan, approved two years ago by the Japanese government as crucial to further decommissioning efforts at the plant, has also been opposed by local fishing groups, who fear reputational damage and a threat to their livelihood.
- That water will contain about 190 becquerels of tritium per liter, below the World Health Organisation drinking water limit of 10,000 becquerels per liter, according to Tepco. A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, greenlighted the plan in July, saying that it met international standards and that the impact it would have on people and the environment was "negligible".
- Japan says it will remove most radioactive elements from the water except for tritium, a hydrogen isotope that must be diluted because it is difficult to filter.
- The Fukushima accident, also called Fukushima nuclear accident or Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, occurred in 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northern Japan. The site is on Japan’s Pacific coast, in northeastern Fukushima prefecture about 100 km (60 miles) south of Sendai.
- The facility, operated by the Tokyo Electric and Power Company (TEPCO), was made up of six boiling-water reactors constructed between 1971 and 1979.
The most devastating nuclear accidents in history
- Kyshtym (September 29, 1957)
- The Mayak nuclear fuel processing plant in the Russian town of Ozyorsk, became the site of a major disaster when the cooling system in a waste storage tank failed, causing the dried radioactive material it contained to overheat and explode.
- A plume of deadly particles swelled above Ozyorsk and the surrounding region, eventually spanning some 300 square miles
- The Mayak incident has come to be associated with the nearby town of Kyshtym because Ozyorsk did not appear on any official maps at the time.
- Windscale (October 10, 1957)
- Britain’s first nuclear reactor, known as Windscale, was built in northwest England in the late 1940s.
- On October 10, 1957, workers conducting standard maintenance at the massive facility noticed rising temperatures. Upon further inspection, they discovered that the reactor’s uranium-filled graphite core had caught fire.
- At that time a radioactive cloud was already spreading across the United Kingdom and Europe.
- Three Mile Island (March 28, 1979)
- The most infamous nuclear accident in U.S. history took place at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a brand-new facility lauded for its state-of-the-art design, efficiency and affordability during an era of energy crises.
- It began when a pressure valve in one of the reactors failed to close, allowing cooling water—contaminated with radiation—to drain into adjoining buildings.
- Church Rock (July 16, 1979)
- Thousands of tons of radioactive waste from the largest underground uranium mine in the United States spilled from a failed dam into the North Fork of New Mexico’s Puerco River in a disaster that likely released more radiation (but received far less media coverage) than the Three Mile Island incident four months earlier.
- Chernobyl (April 26, 1986)
- Built in the late 1970s about 65 miles north of Kyiv in Ukraine, the Chernobyl plant was one of the largest and oldest nuclear power plants in the world.
- In April of 1986, a bungled experiment at one of the facility’s four reactors created a sudden power surge, which in turn led to a series of blasts that blew the 1,000-ton steel top off of the reactor.
About International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- The IAEA was created in 1957 in response to the deep fears and expectations generated by the discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology. The Agency’s genesis was U.S. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953.
- The Agency was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations family.