As Japan releases Fukushima wastewater into the ocean, Pacific Islanders are reminded of a never-ending nuclear legacy

By Anita Hofschneider
August 24, 2023

Indigenous communities worry the decision will compound existing health disparities.

On Thursday, the government of Japan began releasing wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean and plans to continue to do so gradually for the next 30 years.

Japan is treating the water before it is poured into the sea, but the water will still contain low levels of radioactive contaminants that can’t be removed. Japan promises that the levels of contaminants present will be significantly lower than international health standards and has gained the support of a key United Nations agency. But some scientists remain concerned about how little is known about potential long-term effects of the wastewater.

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