Grossi Briefs S. Korea on IAEA Report on Fukushima Water

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi

Seoul, July 8 (Jiji Press)—International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi on Saturday explained to South Korean officials a recently compiled IAEA report on Japan’s plan to release into the ocean treated water from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Grossi gave the explanation at separate meetings with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Yoo Guk-hee, head of the country’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission. The IAEA chief arrived in South Korea on Friday evening after ending a visit to Japan, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Grossi and the South Korean officials also discussed cooperative measures going forward.

The IAEA report, released Tuesday, said that the plan by the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to discharge the water from the TEPCO plant in northeastern Japan into the sea is “consistent with relevant international safety standards.”

On Friday, the South Korean government said that the plan meets international safety standards, announcing the results of its own research on the matter.

At the meeting with Grossi, Yoo requested that the IAEA continue checking the safety of the water release operation and that South Korean experts be allowed to take part in the examinations, according to South Korean media.

Grossi replied that he will consider ways to meet the requests.

Park told reporters after his meeting with Grossi that he and the IAEA chief had in-depth discussions on safety examination based on scientific grounds and how to cooperate to assure South Korean people of the safety of the plan.

Many South Koreans are concerned about possible health damage from the treated water, which still contains tritium, a radioactive substance, with some of them opting not to purchase marine products.

According to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea, 78 pct of respondents said that they are worried about the discharge. The results of the survey were released on June 30.

Grossi’s visit to South Korea is aimed at dispelling such concerns among South Korean citizens. He is also slated to meet with opposition lawmakers who oppose the water discharge.

The Fukushima No. 1 plant was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The Japanese government and TEPCO hope to start the water release around this summer.