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Collective calls for Pacific leaders to oppose Fukushima nuclear waste water discharge

Suva, Fiji

Reef fishing at Patangata, supports many families. Tongatapu, Tonga. 19 May 2022. Photo: Matangi Tonga.

Civil society groups have collectively expressed concern that Japan is proceeding with its plan to discharge over a million tonnes of ALPS treated radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean, starting this year.

The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues, composed of civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and movements in the Pacific, last week called on the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to abandon this plan.

“The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues...expresses grave concern that Japan is proceeding with its plan to discharge 1.3 million tonnes of Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated radioactive wastewater, from its destroyed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, into the Pacific Ocean in the coming months,” it stated.

The Collective expressed disappointment that the calls of the Pacific Islands Forum to hold off on any such release based on independent findings of its panel of five scientific experts, had been disregarded.

“The proposal to proceed with their plan constitutes a brazen threat to Pacific peoples’ livelihoods, safety, health and well-being, and the sovereignty of Pacific nations.”

“The data provided so far to support Japan’s claim that the treated wastewater is safe is far from reliable and inconsistent. If the Japanese Government and TEPCO believe the water is safe they should be prepared to safely dispose of it within Japan.”

“The Pacific’s long-standing commitment to nuclear abolition includes opposing all forms of nuclear harm to our people, our earth and our ocean, including from uranium mining, nuclear weapons, nuclear testing and nuclear waste.

The Pacific Collective has called on the Japanese Government and TEPCO to respond publicly to the independent panel of scientific experts and the Pacific Islands Forum.

“We support the June 26 statement by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, in reiterating the legal obligations of Pacific states under the Treaty of Rarotonga, “to prevent the dumping of radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter by anyone” and “not to take any action to assist or encourage the dumping by anyone of radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter at sea anywhere within the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone”.

Japan announced its decision in April 2021.

The Collective also called for Pacific leaders to initiate a lawsuit against Japan at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), “and seek provisional measures to protect against the trans-boundary harm on present and future generations of people of the Pacific, our marine environment, food safety and security, economic livelihoods and inter-generational health and wellbeing which altogether will constitute serious contraventions of Japan’s obligations under international law if it proceeds with nuclear wastewater dumping.

The Pacific collective includes YoungSolwara Pacific, PIANGO, PANG, Pacific Youth Council, Oikoumene Pasifika, MILDA, PNG Trade Union Congress, Fiji Council of Social Services, femLinkpacific, DAWN Feminist, YWCA Fiji, VILDD, and DIVA.


See also:

30 June 2023 - The looming fate of Fukushima’s contaminated water (the interpreter)

26 June 2023 - Statement: Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna On the Fukushima Treated Nuclear Wastewater (Pacific Islands Forum)