Japan's release of Fukushima radioactive water harmless, says PH nuclear center

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 25) — There is nothing to worry about the release of treated radioactive water from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) said on Friday.

"What is being released is already harmless, even if it is released it will be diluted by the billions of tons of seawater before it reaches us," said PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Japan started releasing the treated wastewater on Thursday from the nuclear power plant, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 2011.

The move was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an organization within the United Nations system, in July 2023 after two years of "detailed review."

The IAEA insisted that Japan's plan follows international safety standards in treating nuclear wastewater from harmful pollutants.

However, the release of water from the defunct nuclear power plant prompted China to ban all aquatic products from Japan.

The PNRI, on the other hand, said that it would not recommend banning seafood imported from Japan.

"Regarding the seafood [imported from Japan], even two or three years ago, we were already sampling fish close to the Fukushima and it's clean, it's been cleared even for export," Arcilla said.

Fact-based perspective

Meanwhile, Japan thanked the Philippines for having a "science- and fact-based perspective" on the release of treated wastewater.

"We are grateful for the majority of the international community, including the Philippines, that shows their understanding of the mentioned discharge, based on facts and science," Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.

"This is a crucial step for Japan towards recovery from the catastrophe," he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said that it recognizes IAEA's technical expertise on the matter.

"The Philippines continues to look at this issue from a science- and fact-based perspective and its impact on the waters in the region," said DFA in a statement. "As a coastal and archipelagic state, the Philippines attaches utmost priority to the protection and preservation of the marine environment."

CNN Philippines correspondent Kaithreen Cruz and senior multi-platform news writer Vince Ferreras contributed to this report