A delegation of South Korean experts visited TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan on Nov. 23 and 24 to begin inspecting the contaminated water discharge site. Japan hopes to use this opportunity to deepen South Korea’s understanding of the safety of contaminated water, and has even mentioned lifting the ban on imports of Fukushima seafood. If the South Korean inspectors are convinced of the safety of the contaminated water, they will demand the resumption of imports of agricultural and fishery products from Fukushima.
Yoo Kook-hee, the head of the South Korean inspection team, met with reporters in front of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the 23rd, the first day of the on-site inspection, and said that the team checked the ALPS (Advanced Nuclear Species Removal System), a key facility that removes radioactive substances from contaminated water to below the threshold, the “K4” tanks (30 out of a total of 1060) that measure radioactive substances before discharging contaminated water, and the monitoring control room that controls the entire process of discharge. For the K4 tank in particular, “we focused on how homogeneously the water is mixed to ensure that the concentration is accurate because of the part where the concentration is measured,” he said. When asked if there were any requests for data or corrective measures during the inspection, he said, “There were questions and answers during today’s inspection, and we made several requests accordingly.”
The inspection team, which arrived in Japan on Nov. 21, consisted of Yoo, 19 nuclear power plant and radiation experts from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety and Technology (KINS), and one marine environment radiation expert from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST). The first day’s visit lasted from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, it is difficult to get a clear picture of the performance of the Alps and the safety of the contaminated water because of the obvious limitations of only seeing the facilities that the Japanese government wants to show.
Yoo Kook-hee, head of the expert site inspection team for Fukushima contaminated water, answers questions from reporters before departing for Japan through Incheon International Airport’s Terminal 2 on Monday morning. Yonhap
As if waiting for the South Korean inspection team’s site visit, Japanese government officials spoke in unison to emphasize the safety of the contaminated water and the need to lift the ban on seafood imports.
“With the participation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry먹튀검증, we will receive explanations from TEPCO,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters at a regular press conference today, when asked about the South Korean team. “Through this visit, we will try to deepen our understanding of the safety of marine discharge of Alpine treated water in South Korea.” Speaking at a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, the lead ministry, said, “We have been explaining (the discharge of polluted water) to the international community with transparency based on scientific evidence through various opportunities,” adding that he hoped the Korean experts would “deepen their understanding of safety through polite explanations.”
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tetsuro Nomura directly addressed the issue of resuming imports of agricultural and marine products from Fukushima, a sensitive topic in South Korea. “South Korea has suspended imports of marine products from eight prefectures, including Fukushima and Miyagi,” he said at a press conference after the meeting. “This inspection centers on the investigation of treated water, but we are also asking for the lifting of import restrictions.” <“It shows that the government is willing to take a proactive approach to lifting the ban on seafood imports,” NHK said. The Japanese government plans to release a final verification report on the contaminated water from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next month and use it as a basis to proceed with the discharge in July and August.