The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Japan on Tuesday to present an assessment of the Japanese plan to discharge part of the water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean.
Rafael Grossi will meet the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, and the head of Japanese diplomacy, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in Tokyo, before traveling to Fukushima (northeast), on Wednesday, to visit the plant devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear accident on March 11, 2011.
Japan marks 12 years of earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident
The tsunami led to fusion of three reactors, the worst post-war disaster in Japan and the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.
The accident caused radioactive leaks which have forced tens of thousands of inhabitants of the areas surrounding Fukushima to flee their homes, in many cases for good.
The decontamination and dismantling work at the plant will take several decades, but Japan is faced with the immediate problem of storing around 1.33 million tons of water from rain, groundwater or injections. needed to cool the nuclear reactor cores at the plant site, which is approaching saturation point.
The Japanese government intends to discharge the water into the ocean after treating it with a decontamination system that eliminates all radioactive elements except tritium and diluting it.
Japan wants to filter and release contaminated water from an old nuclear power plant into the ocean. Regulators have already approved the plan
The project has already been approved by the IAEA, but the Japanese Government stated that the downloads will only start after a “full review”, whose results Grossi will present now.
“Analysis by the IAEA, which is the authority on the management and enforcement of nuclear safety standards, is essential to our efforts to promote international understanding,” said government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno.
But the plan has come under heavy criticism from China, while in South Korea prices for salt — which contains iodine, used to treat radioactive exposure — have soared due to fears of radioactive contamination following the release of Fukushima water. in the ocean.
Fishing communities in Fukushima also fear that customers are boycotting catches from the area, despite strict control protocols for food sourced from the area.
Japan said the release would start this summer, without giving further details, and Hirokazu Matsuno indicated that schedule remained in effect.
“We will thoroughly explain and communicate, both nationally and internationally, the details of the IAEA report, our efforts to guarantee security and measures against reputational damage” in Japan, underlined the spokesman for the Japanese Government.