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Criticism grows as Japan starts 5th ocean discharge of Fukushima nuclear-tainted wastewater

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Criticism grows as Japan starts 5th ocean discharge of Fukushima nuclear-tainted wastewater

2024-04-19 16:47 Last Updated At:04-20 03:59

Criticism is spreading as Japan on Friday started the fifth round of release of nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Despite opposition among local fishermen, residents as well as backlash from the international community, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant's operator, started discharging about 7,800 tons of radioactive wastewater until May 7.

TEPCO analyzed the water stored in the tank scheduled for release, and found that the concentrations of all radioactive substances other than tritium were below the national release standards, while the concentration of tritium that cannot be removed will be diluted with seawater.

TEPCO said it will measure the concentration of radioactive substances such as tritium in the surrounding waters every day during the period to investigate the effects of the release.

However, the so-called "treated water" by the government and TEPCO still contains radioactive materials after being treated by advanced liquid processing system (ALPS), a multi-nuclide removal system, which TEPCO also admits.

After radioactive substances are discharged into the sea, they will inevitably impact the marine ecological environment and enter human bodies through the food chain, but the government and TEPCO have not provided any evidence-based safety instructions on the food chain, Japanese nuclear power experts Masashi Goto and Yasuro Kawai said.

Goto and Kawai are both members of the Citizens' Commission on Nuclear Energy, an independent research and advocacy body, established after the Fukushima disaster in order to devise a new, comprehensive, ethical and viable policy concerning nuclear power phaseout and related issues in Japan.

"It seems as long a s the water is diluted, it can be safely discharged into the sea. This is simply ignorance of safety. This approach cannot be called safe at all. Safety should not simply be understood as just radioactive substances being diluted. If they really value safety, they must prove that there will be no problems in the future. It is currently impossible to predict what impacts the discharge of nuclear-tainted wastewater will have on the natural environment. It is necessary to discuss whether it is safe at least based on data showing what would happen during the next few decades rather than solely based on current monitoring data," said Masashi.

The two experts also said the Japanese government and TEPCO should stop the discharge, reduce the newly generated nuclear-contaminated water, and dispose of nuclear-contaminated water in a scientific, safe and transparent manner.

"(The Japanese government and TEPCO) will find it unnecessary to take pains to prevent more nuclear-contaminated water from being generated or thoroughly treat it now that it is simple and easy to discharge it into the ocean. So I think the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the sea is a seriously negative incident," said Yasurou. "The act itself of discharging large amounts of radioactive substances into the sea is bad for the environment. It's not surprising that China and South Korea are concerned about the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the sea. If the discharge is unattended, it will lay hidden dangers in the future," said Masashi.

The Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water release began in August 2023, and a total of about 31,200 tons of the water was released in four rounds in fiscal 2023, which ended in March.

In fiscal 2024 starting from April, TEPCO plans to discharge a total of 54,600 tons of nuclear-contaminated water in seven rounds, which contains approximately 14 trillion becquerels of tritium.

Criticism grows as Japan starts 5th ocean discharge of Fukushima nuclear-tainted wastewater

Criticism grows as Japan starts 5th ocean discharge of Fukushima nuclear-tainted wastewater

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China's service outsourcing industry reports robust expansion

2024-05-22 04:25 Last Updated At:05:37

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠China's service outsourcing industry saw robust expansion in the first four months of this year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

Chinese firms inked services outsourcing contracts worth a total of some 781.43 billion yuan (about 110 billion U.S. dollars) in the four-month period, up 14.4 percent year on year, according to the ministry.

The executed contract value stood at 520.51 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 12.9 percent.

Of the total, the value of offshore service outsourcing contracts rose 8.6 percent year on year to 419.04 billion yuan.

Specifically, the value of offshore information technology outsourcing (ITO) services provided by Chinese companies jumped by 10.9 percent from a year earlier.

China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the United States and the European Union ranked the top three markets in terms of the fulfilled contract value of offshore outsourcing service, accounting for 54 percent of the total.

Chinese firms undertook nearly 80 billion yuan(about 14.93 billion U.S. dollars) worth of offshore service outsourcing contracts that were fulfilled with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, up 24 percent from a year ago, while the offshore outsourcing services for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries totaled 73.26 billion yuan, up 16.6 percent year on year.

Outsourcing refers to hiring an outside party to carry out services or produce goods typically undertaken by in-house employees. In China, service outsourcing is typically divided into three sectors: information technology outsourcing, business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing.

In the January-April period, the service outsourcing industry welcomed about 301,000 new hires, with 84.7 percent of these individuals holding a bachelor's degree or above. The sector had over 16.17 million employees at the end of April, among whom some 10.56 million were graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher.

China's service outsourcing industry reports robust expansion

China's service outsourcing industry reports robust expansion

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