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Report: Japan requested IAEA valuation of Fukushima plan

Report: Japan requested IAEA valuation of Fukushima plan
Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant discharges 170 tons of contaminated water daily. File Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA-EFE

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Japan has requested a valuation from the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a nuclear meltdown in 2011 has resulted in the daily production of nuclear wastewater.

Tokyo's ministry of industry asked the head of the IAEA Rafael Grossi to consider the disposal plans, Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported Friday.

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The Japanese request was sent on Feb. 10 to the international agency, ahead of Grossi's visit to Japan this week, according to the report.

On Thursday in Tokyo, Grossi told reporters the IAEA is reviewing a subcommittee report on the plans, Kyodo News reported.

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Grossi also said he would "assuage" concerns of Japanese fishermen and the South Korean government. Opponents of the wastewater disposal say the move would damage the environment. Fishermen in Japan have said they are concerned the disposal could affect sales of fish.

"The issue of the timing is always important...but it's not a race against time. It is a race, I would say, more against safety. And more safety, this is what is very important," Grossi said.

About 170 tons of water is contaminated every day at the Fukushima plant. Tokyo has said the water is being purified, using an advanced liquid-processing system. The process does not remove tritium and leaves traces of radioactive elements.

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Grossi, a former Argentine diplomat, has supported the Japanese plan and said this week it is aligned with international practice. Grossi also said this week other countries discharge nuclear wastewater but the measures have not caused significant problems, according to the Sankei.

Residents of Fukushima have shown mixed responses to the discharge plans.

According to a survey from local paper Asahi Shimbun, conducted on Saturday and Sunday, about 57 percent of 1,035 respondents opposed the plan, while 31 percent said they approve.

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