Dr Christopher Busby, British scientist physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Radiation Risk Committee. Photo/sputnik
FUKUSHIMA – When the operator of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reportedly began dumping wastewater from the power plant into the Pacific Ocean, physical chemist Dr Christopher Busby was also concerned about the dangers involved.
The tritium contained in the filtered cooling water from the Fukushima nuclear site is extremely dangerous, renowned nuclear expert Dr Christopher Busby told Sputnik.
“It enters the body easily. It exchanges with normal hydrogen, sometimes becoming organically bound (covalent). It causes genetic damage at very small conventional doses (calculated using energy per unit mass, the formula joules/kg from the Commission International for Radiological Protection used by the IAEA),” said Busby.
After months of controversy, Japan earlier announced it would begin releasing more than one million metric tons of highly diluted, treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) into the Pacific Ocean on August 24.
The decision has been made, despite much criticism from local people, the international humanitarian community, and strong objections from China and other neighbors in the region.
The water release plan has been in the pipeline for years. In 2019, Japanese authorities warned they were running out of space to store the material.
“The water appears to have been treated to remove the radioisotopes that regulators believe pose the greatest risk, strontium-90, cesium-137 and carbon-14. However, removing tritium is too expensive, so most of the radioactive water is contaminated with large amounts of tritium oxide, in the form of HTO tritiated water,” he explained.
Tritium is the largest contaminant in terms of radioactivity, decays per second, clicks on counters, from the operation of all nuclear energy processes.
“Neutrons, which are essential for nuclear energy, generate tritium through various processes inside the reactor, and even outside the reactor, where the nuclide, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is formed by adding neutrons to nitrogen in air, and oxygen in water, various processes. others,” explains Christopher Busby, physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Radiation Risk Committee.
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Although it is generated naturally from the interaction of cosmic rays with gases in the upper atmosphere, it is also a byproduct of nuclear reactors.