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IAEA, Japan Discuss Next Steps on Recovery Efforts Around Fukushima After Major Milestone Achieved

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IAEA Team with Japanese counterparts at the Soil-Recycling Pilot Project Site in Minami-Soma City. (Photo: Ministry of the Environment, Japan)

At a recent meeting with the IAEA, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) presented the progress made with the remediation efforts taking place in off-site areas affected by the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident.

The IAEA team saw that continuous progress was being made with the remediation activities in Japan and that a milestone for completing decontamination has been reached as planned. The IAEA team also recognized that some major challenges still needed to be overcome relating to the future management of wastes and soils arising from the decontamination works. The pursuit of recycling options, with the consideration of proper safety assessments, was encouraged. A summary report of the expert meeting, held from 17 to 21 April 2017 in Tokyo and in Fukushima prefecture, is available here.

The IAEA and MOE have been holding, since 2016, expert meetings on off-site remediation efforts. This third meeting was comprised of sessions that focused on outcomes of the environmental remediation works carried out so far; lessons learned on remediation based on data collected in Date City; mechanism established to evaluate the effects of full scale decontamination; and how to best share with the international community the results from the applied technologies for decontamination and waste volume reduction. The IAEA team also carried out site visits to review the activities on soil-recycling conducted in Minami-Soma City and the incineration of combustible waste in a dedicated facility in Date City.

The IAEA team also highlighted the need for extensive stakeholder engagement to assist the society in understanding the rationale behind each option, and to clarify, in a transparent manner, all the potential complex points so that a consensus can be reached on optimized/sustainable management options. The IAEA offered its continued support to Japan in this effort by exchanging information on international good practices.

The efforts of Japan in sharing information with the international community on aspects related to the remediation works were acknowledged particularly with the preparation of the 2nd decontamination report by the Ministry of the Environment, expected to be issued towards March 2018.

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