IAEA report on Fukushima plant’s water release set for 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency is set to publish next year an interim report on its safety review of Japan’s planned release of treated radioactive water from its stricken nuclear plant into the sea.

The Japanese government and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agreed on the matter at an online meeting between industry minister Koichi Hagiuda and IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi on Friday.

The IAEA was scheduled to send a task force to Japan in mid-December to check the safety of the government’s plan to release into the ocean the treated water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

But the dispatch has been postponed due to the global spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Grossi told Hagiuda that the IAEA task force will carry out its work online for the time being, for example, by interviewing Tepco workers.

The government plans to start releasing the treated water, which contains radioactive tritium, around the spring of 2023.

The IAEA plans to reschedule the task force’s visit to Japan to January 2022 or later for on-site inspections at the Fukushima plant and other places.

After the release of the interim report, the task force is expected to conduct further studies to prepare a final report.

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