A notoriously unreliable website by the name of NeonNettle posted an article titled "Tepco Confirm Plans To Release Entire Fukushima Waste Into Ocean" and subtitled "decision may kill of sea life in Japan" (spelling and grammar mistakes intentionally left intact). The article opens:
Tepco has confirmed it plans to release the radioactive material from the Fukushima plant into the ocean saying that the "decision has already been made".
The decision has an upset local fisherman who says the decision will kill their industry as a result of a massive loss of sea life.
Under the controversial plan, which could be a massive environmental disaster, the radioactive material tritium, which is being used to cool reactors whose cooling systems were damaged in 2011 tsunami, will now be released into the ocean.
If that sounds very alarmist and quite suspicious you are right. What sane company would just dump higly radioactive waste into the ocean and kill off the local fish?
The article has cobbled together and twisted several quotes from a Japan Times article titled "Fukushima's tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says" and omits the most important part:
Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.
As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.
In addition to this, Tepco released a statement clarifying the remark of its chairman that "the decision has already been made":
A certain article reported today, "TEPCO decided to release tritiated water into the ocean" quoting the comment of TEPCO's chairman Mr. Kawamura about the release of tritiated water into the ocean. The comment intended to say that TEPCO shares the same recognition with Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Dr. Tanaka, et al. that in accordance with the current regulation and standard based on scientific and technical ground, there should not be an impact of releasing tritiated water into the ocean. The comment did not intend to announce the concluded policy of the company on the matter.
According to this statement the word "decision" should be read more as "determination", in other words it has been already determined by regulators etc. that releasing tritiated water into the ocean is safe. At the same time the statement clarifies that no decision has been made yet whether to release the water into the ocean or not.
So the title of the NeonNettle article is definitely fake news: no plans have been confirmed by Tepco and even if they do go ahead with the plan it will likely not kill off all sea life in Japan because they are not releassing all the nuclear waste from the plant but just the tritiated water.
In light of this another quote from the Japan Times article seems quite ironic:
"Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught," said Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishermen cooperative.
Unfortunately for Mr. Tachiya sites like NeonNettle don't even need actual tritium in the ocean to create waves of unfounded rumors. The Trendolizer graph at the end of this article clearly shows such a wave rolling over the internet. Please help stop the contamination of the internet with fake news...
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