UN Nuke Energy Chief Says Fukushima Transparency Is Crucial
The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stressed the importance of transparency on Friday after visiting the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, where he saw preparations for the release of treated radioactive wastewater, Mari Yamaguchi and Haruka Nuga reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Rafael Grossi is the director general of IAEA.
Rafael Grossi, the director general of IAEA, which is assisting Japan’s plan to start releasing the wastewater into the sea next year, said his agency will help maintain transparency throughout the process. Grossi 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 decommissioning and preparations for the wastewater discharge.
Japan’s government says the disposal of the water, stored in hundreds of large tanks, is necessary for the plant’s cleanup and decommissioning to move forward.
Grossi touched on lingering concerns in Japan and in neighboring countries about possible health hazards from the release of the wastewater, which includes tritium, a byproduct of nuclear power production that is inseparable from the water and a possible carcinogen at high levels.
“I proceed from 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 countries, what they have every right to demand is that the international standards are complied with, nothing more, nothing less.”
Grossi stressed that the IAEA’s role is to ensure that measures taken at the plant are fully in line with international standards that have been accepted by those expressing concerns. China and South Korea have fiercely opposed the plan.
Local fishing communities say the release will hurt the reputation of their catch because the wastewater also contains other isotopes such as cesium and strontium, which will be reduced way below legal limits, but not to zero.