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Taiwan to keep close watch as Japan prepares to release nuclear wastewater

08/22/2023 07:29 PM
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The Fukushima Daichi Nuclear power plant is shown in this undated photo. Photo: Kyodo
The Fukushima Daichi Nuclear power plant is shown in this undated photo. Photo: Kyodo

Taipei, Aug. 22 (CNA) Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said Tuesday it will closely monitor the waters around Taiwan as Japan prepares to release treated radioactive water from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant from Aug. 24.

According to an AEC press release, measures taken will include an inter-ministerial collaboration to collect information on the release of the radioactive water, closely monitoring the radiation levels of the sea and setting up a model which evaluates how far the radioactive wastewater spreads.

According to NHK, the Japanese government held a ministerial meeting on Tuesday, where the decision was taken to release treated radioactive water from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean from Aug. 24.

The AEC said it has already been working with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ocean Affairs Council to test the radiation levels of marine products caught in waters around Taiwan, as well as stepping up checks on food products imported from Japan, in order to ensure environmental and consumer safety.

It added that these tests will continue after Japan releases the treated radioactive water and the results will be compared in order to ascertain if there needs to be any change to the government's response.

Furthermore, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research under the AEC has been working with the Central Weather Bureau to collect data on the levels of tritium concentration in the sea water, with results suggesting that although the nuclear waste is estimated to reach Taiwan within two years, there will be no hazardous impact on the waters around Taiwan.

The AEC said it will continue its analysis after Japan releases the treated water and will subsequently provide a forecast of the expected tritium concentration levels in the sea water.

Amid Japan's plans to release treated radioactive water, an International Atomic Energy Agency delegation consisting of experts from 11 countries including China, South Korea, the United States and Canada visited Japan five times for on-site inspections and announced on July 4 that the country's plan complied with international safety standards and that there is negligible concern regarding the impact on the environment or people.

Meanwhile, environmental protection groups expressed strong disapproval at Japan's decision.

No Nukes Taiwan released a statement Tuesday condemning the Japanese government's decision, adding it will continue to oppose releasing treated nuclear waste water into the ocean.

The group said it will participate in a campaign that will take place in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York before the UN SDG Summit, slated from Sept. 18 to 19.

Greenpeace Taiwan called for the Taiwanese government to conduct any necessary tests to protect Taiwan's fishing industry and to negotiate with Japanese counterparts for compensation because of the impact to the industry.

The group added that Taiwan should abolish nuclear power as an energy resource to prevent similar disasters to the Fukushima incident from happening in Taiwan.

(By Joy Tseng and Bernadette Hsiao)


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