IAEA: Fukushima Daiichi treated water release meets intl. safety standards

The UN's nuclear watchdog has reaffirmed that Japan's discharge of treated and diluted water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean is consistent with international safety standards.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's task force reviewing the discharge on Tuesday issued its first full report since the release began last August.

The agency said in its earlier report in July that it found Japan's plan for handling the treated water to be consistent with international safety standards. It added that the discharge as planned would have a negligible radiological impact to people and the environment.

In the latest report, the IAEA reaffirmed those conclusions, based on the task force's first review mission after the release began.

The mission sent to Japan in October included experts from 11 countries, including Britain, South Korea and China. China has been opposing the discharge.

The IAEA also pointed out the importance of its efforts to corroborate the source and environmental monitoring conducted by the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company and other relevant Japanese authorities.

The agency says it will continue to conduct routine review missions. It says the next one is anticipated to take place in spring of 2024.

Japan's government plans to explain the IAEA's latest report to neighboring countries such as China to gain understanding about the safety of the discharge plan.

Water used to cool molten fuel at Fukushima Daiichi 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 water into the ocean, the plant's operator dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidance level for drinking water.