Environmental rights organization Greenpeace issued a stark warning on Saturday about the contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that it believes could alter human DNA if released into the ocean, CNN reported.
According to a report penned by the organization, the 1.23 million metric tons of water held at the plant contains radioactive carbon and other "hazardous" radionuclides. If this water reaches the Pacific Ocean, the group warned that there would be "serious long-term consequences for communities and the environment."
"These, together with other radionuclides in the water will remain hazardous for thousands of years with the potential to cause genetic damage. It's one more reason why these plans have to be abandoned," the report read, per The Hill.
In 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant became the home of Japan's worst nuclear disaster when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami cut off the power supply to the property. Eventually, water was used to decrease the temperature of three reactors that lost their ability to cool, and this contaminated water has been stored in the plant since. Now, with space running low, the Japanese government is allegedly being pressured to dispose of the material.
Ryounosuke Takanori, a spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power Company, claimed that the concentration of radioactive carbon-14 isotopes is not high enough to pose any damage to human health.
Francis Livens, a professor of radiochemistry at the University of Manchester, appeared to be more skeptical.
"Any radioactive discharge carries some environmental and health risk. An awful lot really does depend on how much is going to be discharged."He noted that the likelihood of damage would hinge on the level of isotopes in the water.
"People have discharged carbon-14 into the sea over many years," he said.
"It all comes down to how much is there, how much is dispersed, does it enter marine food chains and find its way back to people?"Claire Corkhill, reader in nuclear materials at the UK's University of Sheffield, claimed that scientific modeling suggests that the levels of the isotope in the water are within safe limits — at least per government regulations.
The Fukushima disaster has already had adverse effects on human health. As The Inquisitr reported, mysterious cancers have emerged in children years after the disaster. Notably, there has been a significantly high occurrence of thyroid cancers in children compared to projections for said cancer patients using national data. Although the Environment Ministry claimed the links were not necessarily linked to radiation, some experts have conducted research that led to opposing conclusions.