IAEA reviews Fukushima water release

Article by Amanda Doyle

OFFICIALS from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have visited Japan to review the plans to release treated water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the sea.

Earlier this year, the Japanese Government gave approval to TEPCO to discharge the treated water – currently stored in tanks – into the sea. The IAEA was requested to assist in ensuring that international safety standards are met. The discharge of water is expected to start in 2023 and will likely continue for decades.

The IAEA has now launched a multi-year review of the planned release, and the recent visit to Japan is part of the agency’s first mission as part of the review. The IAEA discussed technical details with people at the site as well as observing key activities.

In July, the IAEA also agreed to provide technical assistance to examine the safety elements of the discharge operation including radiological characterisation of the water, assessing the environmental impact, and examining the safety aspects of the water discharge process.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, said: “The Agency is supporting Japan to ensure that the entire operation to discharge the water over the coming decades is conducted in a way that is consistent with international safety standards. During this week’s mission, the team will discuss the timeline for our reviews, in particular at the site, to ensure the discharge is undertaken in a safe and transparent manner.”

Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General, said: “The IAEA’s reviews will mobilise senior experts, with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience, to provide both national and international stakeholders with relevant and comprehensive information, in a timely manner, regarding the safety of the discharge of the water. This will also contribute to transparency and as such, to building the confidence of the public regarding the safety of the water discharge.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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