IAEA to check Fukushima treated water release plan

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it will send a team of experts to Japan as early as the end of this year to examine its plan to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

IAEA officials including the head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Lydie Evrard, have been visiting Japan to discuss the plan with relevant ministries and agencies. They visited the Fukushima power plant.

The officials met State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ejima Kiyoshi, on Thursday. Evrard commented that their visit to Japan was very constructive and productive.

Japan's government plans to dilute treated water containing radioactive tritium to levels below national standards, and start releasing it in about two years.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, announced plans in August to construct an undersea tunnel to a point about 1 kilometer off the plant and release the treated water there.

The IAEA plans to send a team of experts to Japan at around December this year to conduct an on-the-spot survey at the plant and interview government and utility officials.

The IAEA team is to examine the water planned to be discharged. It will look into the suitability of the plan to release the water into the ocean and possible impact on the environment, before compiling a report.

Evrard stressed the importance of transparency and scientific objectivity of the inspection, saying the UN watchdog agency will conduct it in line with international safety standards.