How Nuclear Energy Could Impact the Water Supply

Releasing contaminated water into the ocean or other water bodies could have severe, long-term impacts on drinking water supplies and aquatic life.

1 minute read

September 6, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


View from a distance of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the coast n Japan

Santi / Adobe Stock

In an opinion piece in Governing, LZ Granderson assesses the potential impact of nuclear waste on the world’s bodies of water, just as Japan begins to release contaminated (if diluted) water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean and a Canadian power plant is proposing storing nuclear waste a half mile away from a Great Lake.

According to Granderson, “The prospect of releasing radioactive water into the ocean should scare people more than a little,” adding, “Anyone trying to persuade us otherwise is preying on our flawed old thinking about water and the ocean — that they’re infinite and unchanging.”

While nuclear energy does help reduce carbon emissions, the threat to our drinking water supply and sea life shouldn’t be underestimated, Granderson writes. “In response to the decision to dump radioactive water, China has already banned all Japanese seafood imports, a crushing blow given it’s one of Japan’s top seafood export destinations.”

Granderson concludes with a warning: “Scientists have offered assurance that properly treated radioactive water will have only negligible effects when further diluted in the ocean. But experts also assured us that the Fukushima power plant was safe, until it wasn’t.”

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