Disasters & Accidents

South Korea to send 21-member team to inspect Fukushima water discharge plan

Seoul, May 19 (EFE).- South Korea will send a delegation of 21 experts to inspect the water discharge plan for Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the government announced Friday.

The delegation will be led by the chairperson of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, Yoo Guk-hee, and will arrive in Japan on May 21, Park Ku-yeon, the first deputy chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, said.

Yoo will be accompanied by 19 experts in radiation and nuclear reactors as well as a marine radiation expert, Park added.

The team will remain in Japan for six days to review the process of filtering radioactive isotopes from contaminated water at the plant, the plan to discharge the water into the Pacific Ocean and the ability of the Japanese authorities to analyze concentrations of radioactive materials.

The delegation will first meet representatives of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and then review the operation of the ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) installed at the plant for nearly a decade.

Japan’s plan to release treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea has long worried Seoul due to its possible impact on marine life.

The delegation’s visit was agreed upon during a summit in early May in Seoul between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Since then, diplomats from both countries have negotiated the format and conditions of the visit.

An earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011 caused a partial meltdown of some of the reactors at the nuclear plant, where 1.3 million tons of water used to continue cooling the reactors has collected. The contaminated water is treated by the ALPS.

In 2021, Tokyo announced plans to release some of this water into the sea, a process that will start between spring and summer and will last several decades.

Since then, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been conducting on-site inspections to assess the entire process and plans to publish a final report by the end of June. EFE

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