On the morning of August 24, Japan began draining the water used to cool the reactors during the 2011 accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. Experts in Japan assured the world community that this water is "purified", safe, and the discharge procedure itself does not pose a threat to the environment and people. Despite this, many environmentalists, public figures and activists around the world have sounded the alarm. The governments of China and South Korea have partially and in some places completely banned the import of Japanese fish and seafood - both live and processed and frozen.
Recall that in 2011, one of the largest radiation disasters in recent history occurred at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in Japan. Due to the flooding caused by the earthquake and the tsunami that followed, the basements of the plant were flooded, which led to a power outage and, as a result, the failure of the reactor cooling system. As an emergency measure, they decided to use almost one and a half million cubic meters of seawater. Until now, all this water has been stored on the territory of the NPP in huge tanks. However, when the space in them began to run out, it was decided to try to clean it up to the maximum and dump it into the ocean.
The discharge into the ocean of the first batch of water, which, as stated in Tokyo, has been cleaned, additionally diluted with seawater and cleared of radioactive substances, but contains tritium in insignificant volumes, occurred on August 24. On the same day, the Customs Administration of the People's Republic of China imposed a complete ban on the import of seafood from Japan.
In global markets, buyers of Japanese seafood are increasingly concerned about their safety for the health of consumers. So, in 2013 (two years after the Fukushima accident), South Korea imposed a ban on fish imports from Japan, and China followed its example this year.
In Japan, they assure that the water discharged into the ocean is safe. The concentration of tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) in it is allegedly significantly lower than normal. Meanwhile, the half-life of this element is at least 12.5 years.
Russia may also join the restrictions imposed by China on the supply of fish products from Japan due to the risks of radiation contamination after water discharge.
The debate about the impact of water discharge among scientists does not abate. Most of them speak in favor of the lack of knowledge of the issue. The long-term consequences of this dumping are difficult to assess at this stage. Japanese calculations show that water with heavy isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) will spread in the bottom layer, because it is heavier than ordinary water, and goes East into the deep-water areas of the Pacific Ocean, mixing with the bulk of the water there. And its concentration will be so small that in a year it will even be difficult to find it. This is a precedent for the world's oceans - and scientists and researchers need to closely monitor what effect this will have for all of us. Many countries have condemned the measures taken that could lead to a negative impact on fishing in South and North Korea, China.
Whether the fact that the fish will not be caught in the Sea of Japan is a 100% guarantee of safety is still a big question. Recall that in May last year, off the coast of California, scientists caught bluefin tuna, which found remnants of radiation contamination. Small doses of caesium-137 and caesium-134 were detected in fish. That is, the radioactive fish swam across the entire Pacific Ocean.
By the way, South Korea has long banned the import of fish and seafood from eight Japanese prefectures, regardless of whether radiation was detected in them or not.
Japan started the world's first "experiment" on the effect of small doses of radioactive tritium on the human body. However, the statements that have appeared (including from the IAEA) about the safety of the hydrogen isotope do not concern its possible "delayed effect" as a result of the accumulation of small doses in the human body over decades.
When hydrogen is released into the atmosphere, light, fast-living elements, they decompose quickly. Radioactive iodine, cesium do not live long. A week - and they are gone, and if strontium, plutonium, heavy elements go, it's already for millennia. If heavy elements begin to fall into seawater, then various events occur there. Firstly, all heavy metals, falling from fresh water into the sea, are geochemically deposited close to the coastal zone. Precipitate within a kilometer. But there is no fishing there? It's not about fishing. All these heavy metals turn into sulfides with sulfuric acid salts and turn into a stationary sediment, settling to the bottom in the form of sand, silt. And this feeds on bacteria, small crustaceans. Further along the food chain, it gets to the higher animals. This is swallowed by fish. At each stage, the concentration of radiation increases tenfold. Moreover, the concentration is in animal fats, in the liver of animals, in the nervous system. If the lower animals do not suffer from this, then the higher animals suffer greatly. Whether radioactive elements get into the food chains accessible to humans, these will already be captured by special devices. The Geiger counter can be determined. Is there an increase in radiation in fish or not. First of all, it will accumulate fatty varieties of fish. Halibut, bottom fish, surface fish too, which feed on plankton.
The danger is that the concentration of tritium and iodine will rise. But it's not that the ocean will become radioactive and someone coming ashore will receive radiation from the water. The main danger is in internal irradiation. And how can a third or iodine-129 get inside a person? With seafood. For some, this can become a "trigger" that will lead to deterioration of health, and for others it is a direct path to cancer.