IAEA Kicks Off 5-Day Visit to Japan to Assess Radioactive Water Discharge Plan
Tokyo – An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission on Monday started a five-day review of a Japanese plan to discharge low-level radioactive water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese media reported on Monday.
In late December, Japan worked out a strategy for the release of contaminated water that had accumulated at the complex after being pumped in to cool the melted reactor, from the defunct plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The inspection seeks to ensure that the discharge plan proceeds in line with international safety standards and without harming public health or the environment, the IAEA said, as cited by Japanese news agency Kyodo.
According to the news agency, the IAEA’s delegation held a meeting on Monday with the Japanese officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Foreign Ministry, as well as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, when the facility was heavily damaged in a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean, triggering a massive tsunami that hit the plant and caused three nuclear reactors to meltdown.
The accident led to the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis, leading to massive radiation exposure and contamination of surrounding waters.
Japan announced its plans in April 2021 to dispose of Fukushima water starting next year, prompting concerns from its neighbors, including Russia, China, North and South Koreas. In addition, about 30 Japanese civil organizations, including the national Japan Fisheries Cooperatives, as well as local municipal authorities in the Fukushima prefecture, oppose the release of the treated water into the ocean.