Hiroshima survivor Toshiko Tanaka and her daughter Reiko Tashiro at the Nuclear Connections Across Oceania conference. [Source: RNZ]
Activists and academics are joining forces to fight plans by Japan to start dumping nuclear waste from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
It is scheduled to start next year and continue for 30 years.
A statement of solidarity opposing the move was being drafted following the Nuclear Connections Across Oceania conference in Dunedin at the weekend.
At least 800,000 tons of radioactive wastewater was scheduled to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean over 30 years from early next year.
Pacific anti-nuclear activists, a Hiroshima bomb survivor and academics voiced their opposition at the event and set up a working group to tackle the issue.
International law expert Duncan Currie told the conference Japan had not considered the impacts or conducted baseline studies, which he said was “completely unacceptable”.
He said modelling suggested the waste would travel to Korea, China, and then the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.
Toshiko Tanaka, an 84-year-old survivor of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in 1945, urged the world to remember the suffering nuclear weapons cause.
Marshallese ‘still suffering’ from nuclear testing
The newly-elected Vanuatu Climate Minister Ralph Regenvanu said Vanuatu was against the move as the country was a member of the Pacific Islands Forum which had expressed its opposition to the dumping.
Fiji-based Bedi Racule said hearing about Japan’s plans and the potential impacts had been re-traumatising as Marshall Islands residents were still facing the impacts of nuclear testing by the United States.
Time and time again it was small Pacific Islands taking on these battles, Tau said.
He called on New Zealand to support this call, if it saw itself as part of “this blue continent”.