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Science  16 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6539, pp. 218-219
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6539.218

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  • Discharge of Treated Water from Fukushima into the Ocean: Freedom from the Curse
    • Michio Murakami, Associate Professor, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine
    • Other Contributors:
      • Sae Ochi, Associate Professor, The Jikei University School of Medicine
      • Yasumasa Igarashi, Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba

    As described in the News written by D. Normile (1, 2), on April 13, 2021, the Japanese government took a decision to discharge the long-stored water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the ocean, as a practical solution for reconstruction and decommissioning. The water, treated by an Advanced Liquid Processing System, will be diluted by a factor of 100 or more, so that tritium and all other radionuclides will be at concentrations lower than the regulatory standard for discharge, before it is released into the ocean and the environment (3). The amount of tritium discharged is within the range of tritium discharged from each nuclear power station around the world. Further, the additional exposure dose is expected to be more than five orders of magnitude lower than the natural exposure dose (4).
    Local fishery operators have expressed concern over harmful rumors, rather than focusing on radioactive safety (5). Harmful rumors have the aspect of a self-fulfilling prophecy, a “curse,” that is exacerbated when products are not available for sale because distributors think the rumors will occur. In the decision this time, the government included various support measures for the fishery industry, especially detailed measures for the distribution process, to counter these harmful rumors. Furthermore, it is important to ensure the effectiveness of these measures and to promote other competitive benefits, such as, the taste of Fukushima seafood, to overcome the...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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