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China to Japanese official: If treated radioactive water from Fukushima is safe, ‘please drink it’

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China to Japanese official: If treated radioactive water from Fukushima is safe, ‘please drink it’
China to Japanese official: If treated radioactive water from Fukushima is safe, ‘please drink it’

By Adam Taylor

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry challenged Japan’s deputy prime minister Wednesday to drink treated water, contaminated from contact with reactors, from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, after the Japanese official suggested the water released would be safe to consume.

“A Japanese official said it’s okay if you drink this water,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a news briefing. “Then please drink it.”

“The ocean is not Japan’s trash can,” Zhao also said. The Chinese official also tweeted a similar message in English.

Japan to release Fukushima nuclear plant water into ocean after treatment

The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s remarks came after the Japanese government announced Tuesday it had decided to release into the sea more than 1 million tons of water collected from Fukushima, which melted down during a 2011 nuclear disaster following a tsunami.

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso had said the treated, diluted water would be safe to drink and he thinks the country should have released the water earlier.

The plan is to begin releasing the water in two years and continue slowly over decades. The Japanese government has said the water will be treated further to remove dangerous isotopes and diluted to meet World Health Organization standards for drinking water, although it would not be able to remove one contaminant, tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be supervising the operation. Radiation experts have played down the fears about the water, too, suggesting ingesting it would result in only a minute dose of radiation and the tritium in the water would quickly pass through the body.

 

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