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IAEA Task Force on Fukushima Daiichi Treated Water Release Conducts Final Mission to Japan Prior to Publication of its Safety Assessment

Vienna, Austria

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Task Force conducting a safety review of Japan’s plan to release treated water into the sea at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) will next week carry out its final mission to Japan before publication of the IAEA’s comprehensive report.

During the mission – being held from 29 May to 2 June - Task Force members will meet in Tokyo with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima Daiichi NPS, as well as with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

“The Task Force will use this opportunity to receive updates from TEPCO and the Government of Japan regarding their work over the past few months and to confirm our understanding of different technical details – this will help us as we prepare the comprehensive assessment of the safety of Japan’s plan for the water release,” said Gustavo Caruso, Director and Coordinator for the ALPS Safety Review, IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Chair of the Task Force. 

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi appointed the Task Force of IAEA and independent experts from 11 different countries, to review the safety of Japan’s plan for the water stored at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS against international safety standards. The standards constitute the worldwide reference for protecting the public and the environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

There will be no formal report from the five-day mission as the discussions will be reflected in the Task Force’s comprehensive report, planned to be issued in due course. The Agency’s comprehensive report will include a broad assessment of Japan’s plan to discharge the treated water against relevant international safety standards, factoring in all insights and outcomes from all previous missions.  Japan intends to start discharging the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water in 2023 having received the NRA’s regulatory approval for the plan in May this year.

During their upcoming scheduled mission, the Task Force will also visit the Fukushima Daiichi NPS site to review the construction status of the treated water discharge systems. The Task Force will also observe the preparatory work for the ALPS facilities and equipment. 

Separately, this week an advance team from the Task Force travelled to the Fukushima Daichi NPS to observe pre-service inspections conducted by NRA as part of their domestic regulatory process.  NRA’s inspections will verify that TEPCO is preparing for the discharge of the ALPS treated water in a manner that is consistent with their approved implementation plan. This week’s NRA inspections focused on testing water leakage monitors at different points in the ALPS system, such as the ALPS transfer facility. The team also observed NRA’s inspection of the tunnel built to transport the treated water one kilometre out to sea.  

Five reports have so far been issued by the Task Force. An additional report on the results of the IAEA’s first interlaboratory comparison for ALPS treated water samples as part of the review will be issued prior to the final comprehensive report.

Additional information such as frequently asked questions and a timeline of activities can be found on the IAEA’s dedicated Fukushima Daiichi ALPS Treated Water Discharge webpage.

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