Catholic Church in the Philippines, through its social action arm, criticized the decision of Japan to release radioactive water from the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant.
“The decision is a reckless gamble with the health and well-being of people and the environment,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, president of Caritas Philippines, on Thursday.
Japan on August 24 started releasing treated wastewater, 12 years after a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged the power plant in 2011.
Some 1,000 tanks containing more than one million metric tonnes of treated radioactive water will be removed from the site as part of decommissioning the facility and discharged into the Pacific Ocean.
The Japanese government said the entire discharge process will take some 40 years.
Bishop Bagaforo expressed solidarity with the Catholic bishops’ conferences of Japan and South Korea in pointing out “concern and opposition to the planned dumping of radioactive water into the sea”.
“We call on the Japanese government to reconsider its decision and to find a safe and responsible way to dispose of the contaminated water,” the prelate said.
Bishop Bagaforo also urged the Philippine government “to stop pushing for its legislation” of the proposed nuclear power projects, “in view of the unforeseen negative effects of radioactive materials”.
“Nuclear energy is not a safe or sustainable option for the Philippines. Maybe this is our warning that nuclear energy is still not a viable, pro-poor, and pro-environment solution,” he said.
The prelate urged the government and other stakeholders to “invest in renewable energy sources,” which he said is “the future of our planet, and it is the only way to ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations”.