Japan has confirmed that more than 1.25 million tons of treated wastewater from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant will be dumped in the Pacific Ocean. The radioactive water pumped through three damaged reactor cores to keep them from melting will be gradually released beginning in two years, according to a plan approved during a Tuesday cabinet meeting, per the New York Times. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government will "take every measure to absolutely guarantee the safety of the treated water and address misinformation." This follows uproar from Greenpeace Japan, which claimed the water could damage human DNA. The group now says the plan "ignores human rights and international maritime law." It suggests the government should instead "minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term."
But the International Atomic Energy Agency says the plan to have the cooling water pass through a filtration system to weed out all radioactive material but tritium follows international practices. The US State Department is also on board, noting Japan "appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards." Coastal nuclear power plants often release trace amounts of tritium, which are said to pose little risk to humans. But the National Federation of Fisheries fears further devastation to the industry. South Korea, China, and Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council are also opposed to the move, per the South China Morning Post. On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry said the "extremely irresponsible" action "will pose serious harm to the health and safety of the ... international community." (Read more Fukushima Dai-ichi stories.)