Dumping of Toxic Waste

While many Japanese citizens do not like the idea of using nuclear power to generate electricity, the Japanese government has been supporting nuclear power ever since the post war period. The government, when proposing a site for a new nuclear reactor, launches many soft-power initiatives such as media campaigns or fairs with information about nuclear power (many of these fairs display products from areas with nuclear reactors in an effort to show off the vitality of those communities. Incidentally, the government has started showing off products from the area around the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor in an effort to demonstrate that the food is once again edible.) Often times, local groups will complain about the addition of a new nuclear reactor or facility in their town, but they are seldom successful in convincing the government to move the project to a new location.

One of the major complaints of residents of a town where a new nuclear facility has been proposed is that the nuclear facility will have a negative effect on their town and the surrounding area. It is well known that production of electricity through nuclear power causes the creation of radioactive waste. This type of waste is harmful to all living things and poses a large problem in regards to how to dispose of it – since neither landfills nor dumping is a responsible option. No community wants to have this new problem to deal with, much less see their landscape marred by the waste. Now, Japan has chosen to dispose of its radioactive waste by dumping it into the ocean, a method that is obviously crude and harmful to the aquatic environment.

This problem was obviously exacerbated by the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdown. This led to a new problem in using nuclear energy, where uncontained nuclear waste had to be constantly cooled to prevent further damage to the plant and surrounding area. TEPCO decided to use water to cool the waste, but this required a large amount of water. The process developed was to have water that had already been used run off into containment and to remove the radiation from it so that it could be used again. While this method does show signs of attempting to minimize damage on the environment, the fact of the matter was that every day required more new water to be used as the old water was being cleansed.

by Anonymous