TOKYO ( Associated Press) — A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant next week and review plans to begin releasing more than a million tons of treated radioactive water into the ocean, a mission that the government will undertake. I hope people are assured of the security of the schemes.
Industry ministry officials said on Monday that the team of about 15 experts will hold meetings with government and utility officials during the February 14-18 mission, which will also include a visit to the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings announced plans to begin releasing still-contaminated water gradually in spring 2023 after further treatment and dilution. The plant is storing water in about 1,000 tanks that need to be removed to allow for decades-long decommissioning from the destroyed plant. The tanks are expected to reach a capacity of 1.37 million tonnes by the end of this year.
The plan has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, local residents and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea.
Japan has sought the assistance of the IAEA to ensure that the release meets international safety standards and gains the understanding of other countries. Officials said the team is expected to include several IAEA officials and one expert each from 11 countries, including South Korea and China.
A major earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the cooling system of the Fukushima plant, causing the collapse of three reactors and the release of large amounts of radiation, and caused the evacuation of more than 160,000 people. The water used to cool the highly radioactive reactor core has since leaked extensively, with groundwater seeping into the reactor buildings.
Japanese officials say the only real option is to gradually release contaminated water diluted with sea water into the ocean. The discharge is expected to take decades to finish.
Officials say all isotopes selected for treatment can be reduced to low levels except tritium, which is indistinguishable from water but harmless in small amounts.
The IAEA mission was originally scheduled for December, but was delayed due to the global surge of the Omicron coronavirus pandemic. Japan’s Ministry of Industry and the IAEA have agreed to prepare an interim report on the water discharge plan in 2022.
Officials say that after extensive decontamination work, it is now safe to live in most areas around the plant except its surroundings. They blame “reputable damage” or misinformation about the effects of radiation for delaying the recovery of Fukushima’s agriculture and fisheries industry.
Six people recently filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from TEPCO for thyroid cancer they believed was caused by radiation from an accident. About 300 people, who were children at the time, have since developed the disease.
On 27 January, five former Japanese prime ministers issued a joint statement urging the European Commission to reverse its decision to include nuclear power under the European Union’s classification as an “environmentally sustainable economic activity”, there many Considering the Fukushima tragedy and thyroid cancer in children.
Government officials have repeatedly denied links between thyroid cancer and the accident at Fukushima and accused former leaders of spreading “misinformation and false discrimination and prejudice”.