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IAEA Task Force Releases Report on Regulatory Aspects of Water Discharge at Fukushima Daiichi

Vienna, Austria

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Task Force established to review Japan’s discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station today released a report setting out their initial observations of regulatory aspects of the proposed Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water discharge.

The review of regulatory aspects is one component of the Task Force’s three-pronged review, to be carried out before, during and after the discharge of treated water.  The other two components are the review of technical aspects related to safety of the proposed discharge of ALPS treated water – with the first report on this topic released in April this year— and  conducting independent sampling and analysis.

The Task Force is an expert group, composed of experts from the IAEA Secretariat and external organizations from around the world, including from the region, in relevant fields such as radiation safety.

The report released today covers the findings from a Task Force mission to Japan held from 21 to 25 March. It compiles the findings under five topics, namely: the responsibilities and functions of the government; major principles and safety objectives; the authorization process; source monitoring and environmental monitoring; and public consultation and involvement of interested parties. 

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi noted that Japan has made significant progress. “Nuclear safety is a national responsibility and Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) holds the responsibility for assessing the safety of the proposed discharge of the treated water. The IAEA’s assessment of their work will provide the international community with credible assurances that the discharge is conducted in line with the IAEA safety standards, the global reference for protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.”

The report is the second in a series of reports that will be published by the IAEA covering the review of safety-related aspects of the proposed discharge.

The Task Force will return to Japan for another mission covering regulatory aspects in early 2023. Preparing for the work ahead, the Task Force noted the importance of continuing to review the regulatory process and NRA’s work as construction and inspections will take place. Japan intends to start discharging the ALPS treated water in 2023.

“The Task Force has released this progress report to update the international community on our observations at this stage of the process,” said Gustavo Caruso, Director, IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Chair of the Task Force. “The IAEA’s review, and the NRA’s domestic regulatory review, are both ongoing processes and we continue to coordinate to ensure a complete understanding of what Japan is doing. We look forward to another mission on regulatory aspects early next year, and which will also help us to better understand the oversight and inspection processes put in place, as well as to see how NRA has considered the Task Force’s recommendations and observations contained in this report.”

The report is available here.

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