Since October 2020, following the announcement of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, further expansion of decarbonization of power plants and renewable energy is now being actively considered. In particular, there are high expectations for offshore wind power with, for example, a target of up to 45 GW generation by 2040. In addition to the cost aspects, however, there are also a number of other issues to consider such as cooperation with stakeholders, including fisheries, and how to ensure preservation of the marine environment. Although nuclear power is positioned as an important low-carbon power source, there are ongoing safety concerns and continued uncertainty about its use.
With regard to the impact of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi NPS accident, the level of radionuclides in the marine environment and marine organisms has, in most cases, now been reduced to pre-incident levels. However, there are still countries that continue to restrict the import of fishery products and, due to reputational effects, the fishery along the coast of Fukushima has not yet been restored to full-scale operation. In order to foster a better understanding of the safety of fishery products and the health of the marine environment, it is necessary to continuously accumulate data and disseminate relevant information. Meanwhile, in the fisheries sector, the revised Fishery Act was enacted in December 2020, and measures such as the expansion of resource surveys and assessments are being promoted in order to achieve both fisheries resources management and successful growth of the fisheries industry.
At MERI, we are conducting research so that we can contribute to the “harmonization of energy production and the marine environment,” and achieve “safety and stable production of seafood.” In order to contribute to the stable operation of nuclear power generation and help overcome the effects of the accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi NPS, we will continuously monitor the levels of radionuclides in seawater, sediments and marine organisms, and work to improve monitoring techniques - such as by increasing the number of target radionuclides. With regard to offshore wind power generation, we will conduct research so that we can contribute to their smooth expansion, while ensuring both cooperation with the fisheries activities and the preservation of the marine environment. We will also work on methods for assessing and clarifying the environmental impact of carbon dioxide sequestration in subsea formations and the development of new energy resources, the development of fishery resource surveys and seed production technologies of valuable species.
MERI will continue its efforts with the goal of being a research institution that meets the demands of society to solve environmental problems related to marine organisms in the future, while responding appropriately to the changes in society surrounding the energy industry.