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Malaysian waters and seafood safe, says minister to allay concerns over Fukushima water release

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s waters remain unpolluted by the recent release of treated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant to the Pacific Ocean, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang said in response to recent concerns about the safety of local seafood products.

He said the current levels of radioactivity in the country’s waters do not pose a threat.

Mr. Chang said that according to expert reports and World Health Organization guidelines, the target level of tritium (a product of nuclear fission) in drinking water is 10,000 becquerels per liter (Bq/L), and its half-life, the time needed to reduce it by half. radiation dose – is 12.3 years.

It has been 12 years since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident caused by the March 2011 tsunami, Mr. Chang noted.

“To date, we have detected only 200 Bq/L in Malaysian waters and based on simulated flow patterns, it will be several more years before (treated wastewater) reaches waters near Malaysia,” he said.

“Although we cannot say that security is absolute, there is currently no cause for concern. There is no need to worry unduly about the elevated radiation levels in our country’s seawater,” he told The Star.

The minister also said a water monitoring system has been installed at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah jetty, with four more devices planned to be installed this year.

Chang said Malaysia is following in the footsteps of Vietnam and Singapore, which have already adopted similar systems.

“These devices, which each cost approximately RM600,000 (S$174,260), will not only control the release of wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant, but will also serve as safeguards against marine chemical pollution incidents.

“Our maritime corridors receive a lot of maritime traffic. “These devices can play a crucial monitoring role in an ocean chemical pollution incident,” he said.

On August 25, it was announced that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was taking public concerns about released wastewater seriously and was closely monitoring the situation.

A gamma spectrum water monitoring station was also installed as a precautionary measure to track any increase in radioactivity levels in real time.

Data from the station is continuously monitored at the National Center for Nuclear Response Management in Dengkil, Selangor, ensuring rapid response to any changes in radioactivity levels.

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