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Moscow urges Tokyo to prevent discharge of Fukushima radioactive water

The Japanese government should prohibit the discharge of liquid radioactive waste from the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) into the Pacific Ocean, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We are concerned by regular media reports about plans by Japan's TEPCO company - the operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant - to massively discharge into the ocean liquid radioactive waste which emerged as a result of an accident at this NPP. Those reports include the 2017 public statements by TEPCO head Takashi Kawamura and latest reports by a number of foreign media outlets, including The Independent and Japan News," spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"We believe that the Japanese government must prohibit the release of radioactive water into the ocean and find ways to safely dispose of waste produced during the Fukushima disaster. If Japan has no such technologies, it can turn to the international community for help," she added.

According to the Russian diplomat, "hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive water" may be discharged into the environment if those reports prove to be true.

"We believe that such a large-scale discharge may do serious harm to the environment and fishing resources of the Pacific Ocean. It will affect Japanese fishermen, and, possibly, residents of coastal areas in general," Zakharova said.

Moscow does not rule out that the move may affect Russian waters as well.

"The discharge of radioactive water may have a negative impact on the fishing industry in our country and other states in the region," the Russian diplomat said.

The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima-1 power plant in March 2011 was triggered by an earthquake-induced tsunami that knocked out vital reactor cooling systems. This resulted in three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen explosions and a massive release of radioactive waste, which contaminated the surrounding area. Clean-up operations continue at the power plant and adjacent territories. According to the current action plan, full decommissioning of the station may take place only around 2040.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 20Dec17]

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