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IAEA Opens Office at Fukushima Power Plant to Monitor Treated Water Discharge

Pool via Reuters
Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, right, listens to Tomoaki Kobayakawa, President of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., explain facilities used to release treated wastewater, while visiting the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant on Wednesday.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency toured the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and inaugurated an IAEA office at the site on Wednesday.

Director General Rafael Grossi said staff stationed there will monitor the discharge of treated water from the plant until “the last drop of the water has been safely discharged.”

A day earlier, the IAEA issued a report that assessed Japan’s release plan as “consistent with relevant international safety standards.”

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. has been decommissioning the plant, which was crippled by meltdowns in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The utility’s discharge of treated water, which has had most radioactive materials except tritium removed, is expected to last 30 years or so.

At a meeting with local leaders and other stakeholders, Grossi stressed that the IAEA would continue to monitor the release, saying, “We are going to stay here with you for decades to come.”

The same day, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said that it will declare the end of pre-service inspections of TEPCO’s water discharge facility on Friday, meaning the discharge of treated water can start.

“We the NRA also will carefully inspect the facility to check if there is any deterioration,” NRA Chairman Shinsuke Yamanaka said at a press conference.