The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) backed the Japanese government plan to release the radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. After visiting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on February 26, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by Japan following the nuclear disaster.
“I’ve witnessed a very systematic and meticulous effort to deal with every obstacle you have been finding along the way,” said Grossi.
In December 2019, the economy and industry ministry had proposed the gradual release or evaporation of the radioactive water stored at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. The proposal came after the government and the plant operator recognised the inability to get rid of more than one million tons of radioactive water, treated and stored due to opposition from local fishermen and residents.
Last month, an expert panel had advised the Japanese government to release radioactive water into the ocean or vaporise it into the air. The government had asked the IAEA to review the panel report to which Grossi said that the committee’s report comprehensive and based on scientific analysis. IAEA, in a statement, said that the global nuclear watchdog considers the disposal options as technically feasible and in line with international practice.
“Once a decision is taken on the way forward, the IAEA would be ready to assist in its implementation, for example in radiation monitoring,” said Grossi.
”It could help provide reassurance to the public – in Japan and elsewhere – that any releases of water would be within international standards,” he added.
In 2011, Japan recorded one of the largest earthquakes in history which triggered the catastrophic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It was the most severe nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.
However, investigations showed that the Fukushima catastrophe was man-made in nature and could have been avoided even after the earthquake. The National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) found out that the plant operator had failed to meet basic safety requirements which led to the disaster.