TOKYO – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stressed the importance of transparency after visiting the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant on Friday, where he observed preparations for the release of treated radioactive wastewater that has caused concern inside and outside Japan.
Gracie is meeting with officials to discuss the plan, which has received international attention. On Thursday he visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where he observed its ongoing isolation and wastewater disposal preparations.
The Japanese government says hundreds of large tanks need to dispose of stored water, to clean up the plant and move decommissioning forward.
Grossi touched on long-term concerns about potential health risks from wastewater emissions in Japan and neighboring countries, including tritium, a byproduct of nuclear power generation that is inseparable from water and a potential carcinogen at high levels.
“I am moving forward with the principle that every serious honest concern must be taken seriously and every effort must be made to address it,” he said. “For these countries, any country, what they have a right to demand is nothing more than compliance with international standards.”
Grossi emphasized the role of the IAEA in ensuring that the measures taken at the plant were in line with international standards adopted by those concerned. China and South Korea have strongly opposed the plan.
Local fishing communities say the release will damage their fishing reputation because wastewater also contains other isotopes, such as cesium and strontium, which will be reduced below legal limits, but not to zero.
The Japanese government has repeatedly faced public criticism for reducing any risk from wastewater. Last year, the restructuring company had to delete a video depicting Tritium as a cute cartoon character swimming in a glass of water.
Japan’s nuclear regulator this week approved a plan to release water by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, saying the radiation risk to the environment is minimal.
A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the cooling systems of the Fukushima plant, melting three reactors and emitting large amounts of radiation. The water that is being used to cool the damaged furnace cores, which are highly radioactive, leaks into the basements of the furnace, where it is stored, stored and stored in tanks.