By Norihiko Kuwabara, staff writer
During a regularly scheduled press conference on Oct. 21, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa announced that if a decision were made to discharge radioactive water from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, the agency would start monitoring the seawater in the vicinity about one year prior to the release. The government hopes to counter economic damage caused by harmful rumors due to the release of the water by providing accurate information on the levels of radioactive materials in the water and how they change over time.
The NRA records the concentration levels of radioactive materials in the seawater off the coast of the Fukushima Daiichi plant and publishes the information on its website. The chairman said that his agency is considering performing high precision measurement of radioactive tritium, which is hard to detect, at select locations and asking overseas regulatory authorities to evaluate Japan’s monitoring procedures. (Abridged)