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IAEA DG Grossi in Japan, Presents Comprehensive Report on Fukushima Treated Water Release

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Photo: M. Klingenboeck/IAEA)

In Japan this week, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday and presented a comprehensive report on the IAEA’s independent safety review of Japan’s plan to release treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the sea. The safety review concluded that Japan’s plans are consistent with IAEA Safety Standards, which serve as a global reference for protecting people and the environment.

“This comprehensive report makes the science of the treated water release clear for the international community, and it answers the technical questions related to safety that have been raised,” Mr Grossi said. “The IAEA notes the controlled, gradual discharges of the treated water to the sea, as currently planned and assessed by TEPCO, would have a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment.”

The report is the outcome of nearly two years of work by an IAEA Task Force made up of top specialists from within the Agency advised by internationally recognised nuclear safety experts from eleven countries. Read the full report here.

Prime Minister Kishida stated that he would never approve any discharge that has adverse impacts on the health of the people of Japan and the world, as well as environment, and Japan will continue to provide detailed explanations based on scientific evidence in a highly transparent manner, both domestically and internationally.

During his 4-7 July visit, the Director General travelled to the Fukushima Prefecture, where he hosted a conference with locals in Iwaki, the largest city in Fukushima. “Your concerns are key to IAEA’s work,” Mr Grossi said, as he met with mayors, fishmen associations and local groups. “We’re here to listen, explain and ensure safety — and we'll stay here true to our commitment before, during and after the treated water discharge,” he added.

At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Mr Grossi officially opened an IAEA office at the site. “We'll continue to provide transparency with live continuous monitoring throughout treated water discharge process,” he said. “Our task is just starting — we're here for the long haul.”

Nuclear safety, security and peaceful uses

Since the conflict in Ukraine began in February 2022, the IAEA has been monitoring the situation. Mr Kishida expressed Japan’s support for the IAEA’s work in Ukraine and the five basic principles to prevent a nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), which were established by Mr Grossi at the UN Security Council in May.

Mr Grossi met with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who reiterated Japan’s support for the IAEA’s work towards nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. The two also discussed non-proliferation issues.

“The IAEA plays a key role in critical issues on the international agenda,” Mr Grossi said. “I am grateful for Japan’s support of IAEA's work in non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security, and promoting peaceful nuclear energy use for global goals.” Japan has been a member of the IAEA since the Agency’s inception in 1957. It is currently participating in 31 technical cooperation projects, covering the agricultural, environmental and health care sectors.

In Tokyo, the Director General also met with other high-level officials, including Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Shinsuke Yamanaka, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

In meetings with President and CEO of Astellas Pharma, Naoki Okamura, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Honorary Chairman Yohei Sasakawa and President Atsushi Sunami, Mr Grossi discussed the IAEA’s work towards development goals through nuclear techniques and IAEA projects like Rays of Hope, NUTEC Plastics and ZODIAC

The IAEA partners with countries and the private sector to implement such initiatives: Rays of Hope helps low- and middle-income countries establish and improve access to radiation-based medical technologies; NUTEC Plastics integrates nuclear and isotopic techniques to address plastic pollution; and ZODIAC supports countries’ efforts to address diseases that spread from animals to humans – known as zoonotic diseases.

On Thursday, Mr Grossi visited the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant. He toured the uranium enrichment plant, MOX fuel fabrication plant and the joint on-site lab where IAEA conducts safeguards. “The Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant is a crucial part of Japan's nuclear fuel cycle,” Mr Grossi said. “As the plant moves towards operation, we're set to enhance our presence.”

Mr Grossi also visited the Rokkasho Fusion Institute, which is “a testament to Japan's commitment to advancing nuclear technology,” he said. “It's inspiring to see the progress and dedication in the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions.”

On Friday, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum hosted Mr Grossi for a meeting with companies across different sectors. Mr Grossi discussed the IAEA’s flagship initiatives, like Rays of Hope and NUTEC Plastics. Last year, Mr Grossi invited Japanese companies to partner with the IAEA to help scale up the global fight against cancer through Rays of Hope. “Partnerships with the private sector are vital to our efforts to tackle world challenges and to meet global goals,” he said.

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