China Issues Ban on Seafood from Japan as Nuclear Waste is Released

( – On Aug. 24, China announced a ban on seafood from Japan after it released treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

The customs department in China announced it would stop importing all aquatic products that originated from Japan which could affect products such as seaweed or sea salt.

The discharge of the 1.3 million metric tons treated radioactive wastewater will be gradual and is expected to take around 30 years. A boat will collect samples of the water to ensure the water meets safety standards. If abnormalities are detected, Tokyo Electric Power Company stated the operation would be immediately suspended. An investigation would then be launched into the discharge equipment as well as the dilution levels of the treated wastewater.

The plant can begin to be decommissioned as a result of the release of the treated radioactive wastewater.

The nuclear power plant had a meltdown that released radioactive particles into the air in 2011 after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami. Since then, the water that has been used to cool the fuel rods has been held on site in 1,000 storage tanks which Japan says are almost full.

The government of Japan approved of the plan. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stated the release of the treated radioactive wastewater would have “negligible radiological impact to people and the environment” as well as meet international safety standards.

However, Japan’s plan to release the treated radioactive wastewater into the ocean has been met with objections from activists as well as neighboring countries. Japanese fishing groups fear their livelihoods could be impacted by the release.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that the release of the treated wastewater was “selfish” and “irresponsible.”

China was not the only country to announce a ban on seafood from Japan. The Chinese territory of Hong Kong, which is the second-biggest market for seafood from Japan, also announced a ban.

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