HAGATNA (KUAM NEWS) — A resolution to add Guam’s voice to the growing chorus of Pacific island nations that are protesting the release of radioactive wastewater by Japan was discussed at the legislature Tuesday.
Sponsor Senator Sabina Perez said Guam should join our neighbouring islands in demanding the Japanese government should do much more to ensure the safety of the waters, and the protection of marine life that so many depend on.
It’s been 12 years since a massive earthquake, and a resulting tsunami destroyed the triple reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The clean-up has yielded more than 1.25 million tons of radioactive wastewater, which Tokyo now says has been rendered safe enough to dump into the ocean.
Osamu Ogata is deputy consul general for the Japan Consulate on Guam.
“The government of Japan has taken every single step to make sure that the method of alps treated water will remove the harmful radioactive substances and would not pollute the environment,” he said.
Joseph Tenorio, another spokesman for the consulate office, says the International Atomic Energy Agency has closely monitored the clean-up and approved of the discharge.
“Based on its comprehensive assessment, the IAEA has concluded that the approach to the discharge of the alps treated water into the sea and associated activities by Tepco, NRA and the government of Japan is consistent with relevant international safety standards,” he said.
But local environmental activist Monaeka Flores says that’s not good enough.
“This isn’t showing a real solution,” she said. “This is a temporary solution, one that puts all of the Pacific in great danger, and so we really appreciate this resolution. It is time that we join several countries now in the international community including residents of Japan themselves who criticize this process and are also in protest over the release of this nuclear water because they are at ground zero.”
It’s estimated that the discharge of nuclear wastewater into the Pacific could take up to 40 years.
Perez’s resolution urges the Japanese government to continue to explore alternative disposal solutions.
Also at the hearing, a young mother, Serena Paulino testified that she’s concerned over the uncertainty of it all, and what it may mean for her children’s future.
“Everything that’s happened with Fukushima, and its unfortunate event, we can be ahead of that by putting this bill into place and just doing right being on the right side of history,” she said. “And so I beg, I beg of you, as our leaders to just protect our people, protect our people and our land and everything that we hold sacred here,” she said…. PACNEWS