South Korea’s opposition leader has challenged Japanese officials to drink treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant amid concerns over Tokyo’s plans to release the water into the sea.
Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, urged Japanese officials to make good on their claim that radioactive water was filtered and safe to discharge into the sea.
There have been stiff protests from local fishing communities as well as neighboring countries such as South Korea, China and Pacific island nations following concerns about the consequences of the water release.
Last week, Japanese and South Korean officials held a meeting that lasted nearly 12 hours and agreed to hold a four-day visit by a Seoul delegation to the Fukushima nuclear plant to assess water from the nuclear plant. Fukushima Daiichi was devastated by the tsunami.
That’s after President Yoon Suk-Yeol held a rare summit with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida in Seoul earlier this month and the two leaders agreed on an expert-level visit next week. to test the plans.
“Japan is making a claim that contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, if treated, is safe enough to drink,” Lee said Monday. “If it’s safe enough to drink, they should use it as drinking water.”
He added that the water should be at least suitable for agricultural or industrial use as millions of tons of wastewater discharged into the sea would be used by humans.
His Democratic Party of Korea objected to the visit of the expert delegation, raising concerns that the trip could be used to justify a plan to flush out the Yoon administration’s efforts to seal the deal. ties with Tokyo.
Party spokesman Park Sung-joon said: “The attitude of the Japanese government makes it clear that the inspection team sent by the government is just a form to justify their plan to release contaminated water. “.
In 2011, a large earthquake and tsunami destroyed the cooling system of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the reactors to release large amounts of radiation.
The plant produces 100 cubic meters of contaminated water, containing a mixture of groundwater, seawater and water used to keep the three damaged reactor cores cool each day. The water is filtered out of the radioactive material and stored in storage tanks.
The Japanese government and plant operator, Tokyo Holdings Electric Power Co., said the discharge would start from spring to summer and take decades to complete.
Japan says it has more than 1.3 million cubic meters and needs to release some water as space runs out.