US backs Japanese plan to release treated radioactive water from Fukushima

US backs Japanese plan to release treated radioactive water from Fukushima

'Japan has coordinated closely proactively with the IAEA on its plans,' says Secretary of State Antony Blinken

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US voiced confidence Tuesday in Japan's plan to release treated radioactive water from a nuclear power plant that was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami more than a decade ago.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at the State Department that Washington is "satisfied" with Tokyo's plans to release the contaminated material as soon as late August, which he described as "safe and in accordance with international standards, including critically the IAEA nuclear safety standards."

"Japan has coordinated closely proactively with the IAEA on its plans, and they've conducted a science-based and transparent process, one that we're we're satisfied with," said Blinken, referring to the UN's nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Japan's plan to release the treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean is set to be implemented within the next few weeks. The facility was rendered inoperable in 2011 after a natural disaster swept the region, and efforts have since been focused on containing radioactivity at the site.

Japan has for years warned that space has been running out to house radioactive material at Fukushima, and has focused its efforts on treating the roughly 1 million tons of wastewater at Fukushima to reduce its radioactivity ahead of its release.

The plan has been met with criticism from regional neighbors, particularly China, South Korea and North Korea, as well as fishermen, because of concerns about the potential health and environmental effects of a potential release of the wastewater.




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