Group Introduction Iwate Committee to Protect the Sanriku Sea from Radiation Nuke Info Tokyo No. 108
By Fumio Nagata*
We are an Iwate Prefecture citizens’ group opposed to the operation of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture. We are concerned about the ocean being polluted with radioactive liquid waste from the plant.As shown on the map, Iwate Prefecture is located south of Aomori Prefecture. It has been discovered that radioactive elements will be carried by the Tsugaru warm current down the Sanriku Coast of Iwate Prefecture, pushed south by the cold Oyashio front from the north. Just off the Sanriku Coast is one of the world’s three best fishing grounds. Along the coast large quantities of sea food are cultivated, including abalone, sea urchin, scallops, wakame seaweed and ascidian. Japanese eat a lot of sea food and this is the supply base. Large quantities of radioactive isotopes, including tritium, iodine 129 and 131, strontium 90 and plutonium 240 will come flowing down into this abundant fishing ground (see table).
We kicked off our campaign against reprocessing with a public meeting in May. We invited Honorary Professor Mizuguchi of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology to speak and sent a list of questions to Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL). JNFL responded that the radioactivity will have no effect on humans because it will be diluted by the sea water and that an environmental assessment for the Sanriku Coast is unnecessary. At the moment we are running a petition demanding that they “should not proceed with reprocessing until the understanding of Iwate Prefecture’s coastal residents has been obtained.” We plan to use this to put pressure on the Governor and Parliament of Iwate Prefecture.
We also held meetings with Professor Mizuguchi at the beginning of September in three districts on the Sanriku Coast. We hope to find out the truth about environmental pollution resulting from reprocessing and, in particular, hope for a groundswell against reprocessing within the fishing industry. Our committee is based on groups campaigning on the problems associated with medical radioactive waste and groups campaigning on food safety, peace and environmental issues.
When we heard of the radioactive pollution of the seas around the reprocessing plants in England and France and the frequent occurrence of childhood leukemia, we realized that tomorrow this could be us, so we decided to take action. We are campaigning with the conviction that by rousing public opinion in Iwate Prefecture we can shift Aomori Prefecture and stop reprocessing.
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