CNIC Statement: We Strongly Protest the Approval for Oceanic Releases Granted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority

July 22, 2022

On July 22, amid a chorus of protest from the public gallery, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) application to change its plan to release treated water into the ocean. The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) strongly protests this decision to approve the releases.

Up until the deadline of June 17, a total of 1,233 public comments were submitted to NRA, whose response was to summarize the comments in a way that made it easy for them to simply repeat previously held views. The comments appear to have brought about no change in  thinking.

For example, in response to a request to indicate the total amount of radioactive material that will be released, NRA repeated its previous formula of indicating the amount (for each 10,000 cubic meters) before the releases, but this does not indicate the total amount up to the time when the releases are completed.

For the environmental impact of long-half-life nuclides, NRA considers that since the releases are within regulatory standards, this confirms that the impact on people and the environment is sufficiently small. Accumulation of radioactive materials on the seabed is also not thought to be a problem because the assessment is made on the assumption that the radioactive materials on the seabed are in equilibrium with their concentration in the seawater.

 If NRA is going to give responses, it should at least indicate how and at what review meeting the issues submitted were discussed. Not doing this makes it difficult to understand what the public comments are for in the first place.

 Above all, there has been no understanding or agreement with fishermen’s organizations regarding the oceanic releases. The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations adopted a special resolution opposing the releases at its annual general meeting this year. With today’s decision, TEPCO is expected to start construction work on the release facilities, which will only serve to deepen conflicts and divisions. We can only say that NRA’s decision is highly irresponsible.

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