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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Japan, S. Korea at war of words at IAEA over N-plant water

Vienna, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press) — A bitter war of words erupted between Japan and South Korea at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting Monday over the issue of ever-increasing treated water containing radioactive tritium at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.

At the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s annual general conference in Vienna that started the same day, Japanese information technology minister Naokazu Takemoto said that radioactive substances are mostly removed from the treated water at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> disaster-crippled Fukushima No.1 plant except for tritium, which is a weak radioactive substance.

Japan argued that there are criticisms that are not based on facts or scientific grounds, apparently referring to claims made by South Korea.

Citing former Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada’s recent remark that there is no other way than releasing the water into the ocean to dilute it, Mun Miock, first vice minister at the South Korean science and information communication technology ministry, said at the meeting that if the water is discharged into the ocean, the issue would be no longer a domestic problem in Japan, but a threat that could impact the global marine environment.

South Korea called for an active involvement of the IAEA in the matter.

Right before the end of the meeting, working-level officials from the two Asian countries also made remarks on the treatment water issue one after another.

The Japanese side claimed that the release of the water into the ocean is not a finalized plan and that the IAEA, through its inspections, has evaluated Japan’s efforts positively.

On the other hand, South Korean officials said that Japan should disclose more detailed information.

No other participating countries made a remark on the treated water issue.

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