The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Thursday that it has reached an agreement with the Japanese government to monitor the discharge of the radioactive water that has been stored in the Fukushima nuclear plant since the tsunami disaster in 2011.
The IAEA will play a vital role in monitoring and reviewing Japans implementation of its plan. As the eyes of the international community, IAEA experts will be able to verify that the water discharge is conducted safely. This is of paramount importance to reassure people in Japan and elsewhere in the world, especially in neighbouring countries, that the water poses no threat to them, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a press release.
Under the agreement, the IAEA will examine multiple element’s of Japan’s discharge plan, including the radiological characterization of the water, environmental monitoring, radiological environmental impact as well as the regulatory control of the discharge.
In April it was reported that the Japanese government planned on releasing over 264 million gallons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean over a period of decades, with the first batch of treated water set to be released in two years.
The plan received immediate condemnation from nearby countries South Korea and China, as well as environmental and fishing groups.
According to the IAEA, the Japanese government requested assistance from it after news of its plans broke in April.
“The Agencys involvement before, during and after the water disposal will provide confidence in Japan and beyond that it takes place in line with the international safety standards which aim to protect people and the environment,” the IAEA said.
Following an earthquake and an ensuing tsunami just over a decade ago, the Fukushima nuclear plant experienced a meltdown that heavily damaged the facility, leading to large amounts of radiation being released into the surrounding area and the Pacific.