IAEA: Water release plan meets international safety standards

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan's plan to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant into the sea conforms with international safety standards.

The nuclear watchdog has concluded in a report delivered to Prime Minister Kishida Fumio that the approach to the discharge of the treated water into the sea, and the associated activities by TEPCO, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Japanese government are consistent with relevant international safety standards.

The report says: The IAEA is committed to engaging with Japan on the discharge of the treated water not only before, but also during, and after the treated water discharges occur.

The report says the agency will maintain an onsite presence at the plant throughout the review and will publish data for use by the global community, including the provision of real-time and near real-time monitoring data from the plant.

Kishida receives the report

Kishida met with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at the Prime Minister's office shortly after 4 p.m. and received a report summarizing the results of a comprehensive assessment on safety.

Kishida said that as a responsible leader in the international community, he won't allow emissions that have a negative impact on people's health and the environment in Japan and around the world. He said he wants to continue to provide thorough explanations at home and abroad based on scientific evidence with a high degree of transparency.

He said Japan will respond sincerely to the contents of the report.

Grossi said that the results of the assessment are scientific and neutral and include all elements necessary for Japan to make a decision.

China opposes water release

China's ambassador to Japan, Wu Jianghao, held a news conference in Tokyo before the IAEA handed over its report. He said China is opposed to the release of the Fukushima water into the sea.

Wu said their demand is simple: Stop Japan from releasing the water into the sea, and consider a scientific, safe, transparent and convincing treatment method that other countries can accept.

But he also said that Japan has decided to release the water into the sea no matter what the IAEA report says. He said it shows little respect for science.

Chinese Embassy in Tokyo

Wu also questioned whether the IAEA had the ability to assess the long-term impact of the water on the marine environment.

IAEA chief briefs on water discharge report

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa met with Grossi at noon to receive a briefing on the international nuclear watchdog's report.

Grossi has previously said that if the project is carried out appropriately, in accordance with safety standards, it will not negatively impact the environment. The report to be submitted to Prime Minister Kishida is believed to be in line with that view.

Hayashi told reporters before the meeting that the government will provide detailed explanations based on scientific evidence with high transparency, and will work to bolster the understanding of the international community.

Storage tanks nearing capacity

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has more than 1,000 tanks for storing treated water, but those tanks are currently at about 98 percent of capacity.

Japan's nuclear regulators last year authorized the plan to release the water, but only if it is diluted with seawater.

The government says that will lower the level of tritium to one-seventh of the World Health Organization standard for drinking water.

Domestic and international concerns

Many in Japan's fishing industry oppose the release, fearing it could do more damage to Fukushima's reputation.

After the nuclear disaster, 55 countries and territories imposed restrictions on the import of some Japanese food produce.

Many of the countries have since lifted the restrictions but China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau still have limits in place.

The European Union still requires certification of the level of radioactive materials contained in food.

Prime Minister Kishida said on Tuesday morning, ahead of the meeting, that his government would ensure that the discharging of water is safe, and will try to minimize any reputational damage.

Read the process of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant here:
Fukushima 12 Years On: Nuclear accident