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Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant UPSC NOTE

 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

  • It is a disabled nuclear power plant located in the town of Okuma, Japan.

  • It was first commissioned in 1971.

  • The plant suffered major damage from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. 

  • The chain of events caused radiation leaks and permanently damaged several of its American-designed reactors, making them impossible to restart.


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Why Japan is dumping water to ocean?

  • The tsunami (2011) flooded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant  and damaged its diesel generators. 

  • The loss of power suspended coolant supply to reactors at the facility; the tsunami also disabled backup systems.

  • Since then, authorities have used more than a million tonnes of water to try and cool the plant’s disabled reactors, which are still hot due to the long-term release of energy from the nuclear power source.




  • All that radioactive water – which is more contaminated than standard wastewater – has to go somewhere.

  • In April 2021, the Japanese government approved the dumping of radioactive water of this power plant into the Pacific Ocean over the course of 30 years.


How it will impact ocean?

  • The water that the Japanese government wants to flush from the plant was used to cool the reactors, rainwater and groundwater.

  • It contains radioactive isotopes from the damaged reactors and is thus itself radioactive.

  • The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima facility, has said that it has treated the water to remove most radioactive isotopes.

  • But according to some experts there is no known threshold below which radiation can be considered safe.

  • Any discharge of radioactive materials will increase the risk of cancer and other known health impacts to those who are exposed.

  • Experts expect the affected water to poison the fish.

  • TEPCO has not removed tritium from the water because this is very difficult to do so.

  • Tritium is easily absorbed by the bodies of living creatures and rapidly distributed... via blood.

  • There were other radionuclides in the water that the TEPCO’s treatment procedure could not entirely remove. 

  • These include isotopes of ruthenium and plutonium, which could persist for longer in the bodies of marine creatures and on the seafloor.


How it affect globally?

  • South Korea banned seafood imported from around Fukushima, to Japan’s displeasure, from 2013.

  • Public opposition to nuclear power worldwide, especially in Europe, diminishing its contribution to the clean-energy power generation mix.

  • In India, the Fukushima accident also revived concerns about some existing nuclear power plants — especially the Department of Atomic Energy’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) facility in Tamil Nadu.

  • Concerns over the impact on the water, marine life, fishers’ livelihoods and other countries in the area.

  • China, South Korea and Taiwan have expressed concerns over Japan’s plan. 

  • A representative of the Pacific Islands Forum, the bloc of Oceania countries including Australia, has called it “simply inconceivable” based on their experience with “nuclear contamination.

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