South Korea says it will send a group of experts for onsite inspections at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The move comes ahead of Japan's plan to release treated and diluted water into ocean.
South Korea opposes the idea.
One of the most urgent issues in the recovery work at the site is managing the massive amount of water that accumulates every day. Water used to cool molten fuel mixes with rain and groundwater. The polluted water is treated to remove most of the radioactive materials, but the filtered water still contains tritium.
The treated water will be diluted to reduce tritium levels before it is released into the ocean. The plant's operator and the government say the tritium concentration will well meet the World Health Organization's standards for drinking water.
The South Korean government said a 21-member team including experts on nuclear power plants, radiation and the marine environment will visit Japan for six days from Sunday. They are to conduct onsite inspections from Monday to Thursday next week.
The team will assess the results of analysis on water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will also examine how treated water is stored and managed.
The team will be led by Yoo Guk-hee, the chief of South Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission. Yoo said the team will do its utmost to confirm if the discharge plan is scientifically safe and after inspecting the plant and analyzing documents will report its findings to the public.
South Korea has banned fisheries products from Fukushima and several other prefectures due to safety concerns over radioactive contamination.
The South Korean government said it will thoroughly study the possible effects on South Korea's seas and marine products, and if necessary, swiftly take steps to protect them.