S.Korea criticizes Fukushima water discharge plan

Japan and South Korea have disagreed with each other at an annual meeting of the UN nuclear agency. At issue was Japan's plan to discharge treated water from a disabled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

South Korea's first vice science minister Yong Hong-taek expressed regret over the Japanese plan in his speech at the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference in Vienna on Tuesday.

Yong said the Japanese government is unilaterally pressing ahead with the discharge plan from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant without sufficient consultations with relevant countries. He urged Japan to reconsider its decision.

Yong also stressed the importance of the IAEA's role in enhancing objectivity, transparency and safety during the process of releasing the water into the ocean. He reiterated South Korea's intention to join the IAEA's monitoring mission.

Japan's Ambassador Hikihara Takeshi noted Tokyo's close cooperation with the IAEA. He rebutted Yong's claims, saying Japan is engaging in bilateral, regional and international dialogue, and offering information based on scientific evidence.

The Japanese government plans to dilute tritium and other radioactive substances in the treated water to levels far below national standards. It plans to begin releasing the water into the ocean in about two years.