Pacific nations call on Japan to delay discharge of contaminated water from Fukushima

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Pacific island nations are calling on Japan to delay the discharge into the Pacific Ocean of contaminated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) said on Wednesday.

The Japanese government announced last week that it planned to release the contaminated water “around spring or summer”, raising concern from the domestic fishing industry and neighboring countries.

The FIP, which brings together 17 island nations, believes that the spillage could greatly affect the fishing industry, on which the economy of many of its members depends.

“Our region is firmly committed that there will be no release until all parties verify that it is safe,” said FIP Secretary General Henry Puna.

Ken Buesseler, a scientist from the Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography, told the forum that a group of scientific experts from the FIP called on Japan to reconsider the discharge of contaminated waters because it was not supported by any data, and clarified that additional information was needed.

Radioactivity moves through the ocean, carried by currents and tides, and risks contaminating fish, he added.

(Report Kirsty Needham; French version Camille Raynaud)

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