IAEA finds tritium levels in seawater near Fukushima below limit

The International Atomic Energy Agency says its sampling and analysis of seawater near Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant shows that the tritium levels are below the country's operational limit.

The UN nuclear watchdog on Friday announced the results of its first independent sampling and measurement of seawater since the discharge of the treated and diluted water from the plant began on August 24.

The IAEA says seawater was taken from several locations within 3 kilometers of the plant.

The agency says the results show consistency with the values reported by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company and Japan's Environment Ministry.

In July, the IAEA released a report saying Japan's water release plan is consistent with international safety standards.

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi has said the agency plans to continue its monitoring and analysis after the discharge begins.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel has been mixing with rain and groundwater.

The accumulated water is being treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium. Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water.