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Fukushima Pollutes the Pacific — Poster of the Week

Fukushima Mon Amour Yossi Lemel Offset, Circa 2012 Tel Aviv, Israel 41108

CSPG’s Poster of the Week features a poster by Yossi Lemel, which ties the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan and the 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, referencing the 1959 French film “Hiroshima Mon Amour.” Both incidents represent major nuclear disasters in Japanese history characterized by loss of life and devastating environmental impact. On Thursday August 24th, Japan released 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, the first of many planned releases.The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed over 20,000 people. The Tohoku tsunami produced 40 meter (130 feet) tall waves that destroyed both the plant’s power supply and cooling systems, causing three reactors to melt and emit immense amounts of radiation into the air, soil, and water. Since 2011, nuclear power plant workers have stored 350 million gallons of contaminated wastewater, and worked to remove radioactive isotopes from it. Through the assistance of Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), some radioactive contaminants can be removed, including hazardous isotopes like cesium-137 and strontium-90, but tritium, another hazardous isotope, cannot be filtered out. If consumed in large quantities, tritium can increase the risk of cancer. The decision to release radioactive water was approved by the Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an autonomous organization of the United Nations. Both groups insist that in using ALPS and other filtration systems, the radioactive contaminants in the water are far below safety limits. Yet, this move has polarized the public and scientists fear that the Japanese shores could be affected due to the accumulation of radioactive and hazardous isotopes. The same day the radioactive water was released, the Chinese and Korean governments announced they would immediately stop importing seafood from Japan. Protests also took place in Japan and Korea against the decision. Other Pacific Island nations like the Marshall Islands and Tahiti already face high levels of contamination due to the Cold War era nuclear tests.

At a protest in front of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the Fukushima nuclear power plant, demonstrators hold posters that read, “No radiation contaminated water into the sea.” If anyone has any info about the maker of this poster, or how to get a copy for the archive, please email The decision to release hazardous and radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean is irresponsible and immoral. We must protect our ecosystem! Stop polluting the Pacific Ocean!

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