TOKYO – The Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy agreed Thursday to work together to monitor Japan’s planned discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.
Japan sees the involvement of the U.N. nuclear watchdog as important from the standpoint of ensuring credibility and transparency in the monitoring process, the Foreign Ministry said, amid strong opposition by neighboring countries to the plan to release the treated water into the Pacific Ocean.
Under the deal, Japan and the IAEA will cooperate in reviewing the safety and regulations of the water discharge as well as in evaluating the effect of the release into the sea, the ministry said.
A task force will be set up in the IAEA secretariat to provide such support, and it will include a group of internationally recognized experts selected by the agency from its member states, according to the ministry.
The Japanese government decided in April to release the treated water that has accumulated at the Fukushima plant, which suffered core meltdowns in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
Water pumped into the ruined reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to cool the melted fuel, mixed with rain and groundwater, is being treated using an advanced liquid processing system.
The process removes most radioactive materials except for tritium, which is said to pose little health risk in low concentrations.