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IAEA to Conduct First Extensive Sampling of Marine Environment Near Fukushima Daiichi Since Start of Treated Water Release

Vienna, Austria

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) scientists and international scientific observers will visit Japan next week to take marine samples near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS). The Agency’s samples will be used to corroborate Japan’s environmental monitoring and to assess the country’s relevant technical capabilities. 

This work supports the IAEA’s ongoing monitoring and assessment activities in Japan under the Agency’s overall safety review of the ALPS treated water discharges which is assessing whether TEPCO and the Government of Japan are applying the relevant international safety standards.  The results from the new samples will also be compared against samples taken last year to determine whether any changes have occurred in the levels of radionuclides in the marine environment since the ALPS treated water discharges began in August this year.

The mission will also provide samples for the Agency’s project initiated in 2014 to support the quality assurance of broader marine environmental monitoring by Japanese laboratories related to the decommissioning of FDNPS. Reports from this work can be found on the IAEA website.

From 16-23 October, the IAEA team will observe the collection and processing of seawater, marine sediment and fish samples from coastal waters in the vicinity of the FDNPS.

Two staff from the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratories in Monaco, as well as experts from laboratories in Canada, China and Republic of Korea, will participate in the sample collection. The team will also take part in the sampling of fish from markets in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Identical samples will be sent to all laboratories participating in the comparison study and analysed for radioactivity. The results of the analyses done by Health Canada, the Third Institute of Oceanography, China, and the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety – members of the network of Analytical Laboratories for the Measurement of Environmental Radioactivity – and those obtained by the participating Japanese laboratories, will be submitted to the IAEA for the evaluation of the results for any statistically significant differences, and publication.

Additionally, the IAEA Task Force conducting the safety review of Japan’s release of the ALPS treated water will reconvene and conduct its first mission to Japan since the start of the water discharges.  It is the next in a series of missions that began in 2021 and will continue throughout the IAEA’s safety review of the discharges. Media opportunities will be conveyed towards the end of this week.

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