Vienna/Beijing: Following concerns over allowing Japan to release water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi today engaged with governments and communities during his visit to the Pacific today.
It may be mentioned that yesterday, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported that the head of the independent expert panel of the Pacific Islands Forum, which was set up in March 2022, was critical of the IAEA. The news agency quoted Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, telling the Fiji Times that “The IAEA is refusing to acknowledge its responsibility, and basically abandoning the countries of the Pacific region to whatever mercies the government of Japan might offer them”. Besides, on July 10, 2023, China and the Solomon Islands issued a joint statement calling on Japan to “fulfil international obligations and prudently handle the issue of discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean”. The foreign ministry of the Solomon Islands also issued a statement to express concerns over the IAEA comprehensive report.
A press release issued in Vienna today said Grossi addressed local concerns and explained the science behind the IAEA report on Japan’s plans.
The IAEA also released the following video showing Grossi addressing such concerns with the Pacific leaders:
Incidentally, China has been the most vociferous critic of the IAEA decision and claimed that the quantity, time span and geographical scope of Japan’s ocean discharge “are all expected to be unprecedented”. Beijing claimed the discharge will cause uncertainty and risk to the collective interests of the global community.
China holds that the IAEA’s conclusion “can hardly be trusted” because the Agency based its review on the assumption that Japan’s purification facility would remain effective and reliable in the long term, and Japan’s management of the discharge would be free from mistakes or errors for the next 30 years.
“China and the Pacific Island countries have serious concerns over Japan’s ocean discharge plan and firmly oppose Japan’s attempt of shifting nuclear pollution risks. Ocean discharge is neither the only option to handle the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water, nor the safest and most effective method,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said today.
China further claimed that the nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant contains dozens of radionuclides, many of which cannot be treated effectively with existing technologies. “Japan did not invite the WHO or other professional institutions to carry out the review from the health perspective. Japan invited IAEA only for a review process that was based on very few samples and data, which had been provided by Japan,” Wenbin said.
– global bihari bureau