IAEA begins first safety review of Japan's release of Fukushima water


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is now conducting a safety review of Japan’s release of treated radioactive water, the first since its discharge into the Pacific Ocean in August.

Catch up: The radioactive water is a direct consequence of the nuclear accident that took place at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. It is being treated under the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which removes all radioactive substances save for tritium.

As it runs out of storage space, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner of the disabled plant, began releasing the treated water on Aug. 24. The discharge was approved by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, as well as the IAEA, which determined that it would have “a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment.”

About the first safety review: An IAEA task force consisting of experts from 11 countries — including China, which has strongly opposed the water’s release — began the first safety review of the discharge on Tuesday. They aim to examine whether the release is being carried out as planned.

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The review, which will last through Friday, involves inspecting discharge facilities at the plant. Last week, the IAEA also visited a Fukushima port to collect marine samples.

What’s next: The discharge is expected to continue for decades. For its part, the IAEA will publish a report on the first safety review by the end of 2023.


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