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Japan must explain how it will stop water leaks at Fukushima

Japan must explain how it will stop water leaks at Fukushima - Greenpeace

Tokyo, August 8, 2013 – Japan's government urgently needs to explain how it plans to take responsibility for the leakage of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant and seek international help to draw up a clear action plan to resolve the crisis, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace Japan met with the Japanese nuclear regulator NRA, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Energy Ministry on Thursday, but was appalled to learn that it is not yet clear which ministry or agency will take responsibility of the situation. The NRA did not offer any clear solution either to stop the leaks.

"More than two years after the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government isn't any closer to taking control of the situation.. The government must hold the nuclear industry responsible for the catastrophe and seek expert assistance from other countries," said Hisayo Takada, climate change and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

"The leakage of radiation from the Fukushima plant to the ocean is a disaster for marine life and Japanese fisheries, but TEPCO has consistently hid and understated the seriousness of the leaks. TEPCO is clearly incapable of dealing with the ongoing disaster and cannot be trusted to handle the situation appropriately."

Large amounts of radioactivity have already leaked into the ocean since the start of the accident, which spread radioactive contamination over a wide area. Radioactively contaminated fish and other marine life have been caught even at large distances from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

"The ongoing leakages from the Fukushima plant will further contaminate the ocean environment, which will be affected for many decades to come. The contamination of marine life will continue to impact the local fishing community. Victims that suffered the consequences of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster should not be further exposed to difficulties caused by the contaminated water," said Dr. Rianne Teule, nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International.

Greenpeace warns that the occurrence of contaminated ocean products will persist and said continued monitoring of seafood especially from the Fukushima area – but also at larger distances – will remain necessary. Further research needs to be done to map the long-term impacts of the Fukushima leaks into the ocean.

"Instead of evaluating the potential restarts of other reactors, the Japanese regulator NRA should focus all its efforts on the problem of contaminated water. The NRA needs to ensure maximum transparency and share all information regarding the situation in the damaged reactors with their international colleagues and the public," Hisayo Takada said.

ENDS

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