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    Fukushima water release to follow safety standards, says IAEA

    TOKYO (AP) – The head of a United Nations nuclear agency task force assessing the safety of Japan’s plan to release treated radioactive water from the wreaked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea said on Friday that Japanese regulators have shown their commitment to comply with international safety standards.

    International concern over the plan has been widening. Last week, the head of the 18-nation Pacific Island Forum, which includes Australia, New Zealand and other island nations, expressed concern about any impact of radiation from the water on the livelihoods of people in the region, and urged Japan to suspend the plan.

    “The region is steadfast in its position that there should be no discharge until all parties verify through scientific means that such a discharge is safe,” forum Secretary General Henry Puna said at a public seminar on the Fukushima issue.

    The United States National Association of Marine Laboratories, an organisation of more than 100 laboratories, also expressed opposition to the plan, saying there was a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety.

    Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) task force Gustavo Caruso said his team visited the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant this week and witnessed the first of a series of inspections by the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority before it gives its final go-ahead for the release.

    Storage tanks for contaminated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Okuma of Fukushima prefecture, Japan. PHOTO: AFP

    He said officials from the authority addressed all questions raised by the task force and showed their commitment to following safety standards.

    Japan’s government said last week that the release is likely to begin sometime in the spring or summer and continue for decades.

    Japanese regulators are responsible for examining whether preparations for the release by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, are consistent with its approved implementation plan.

    At the request of Japan, IAEA is reviewing whether the reparations for the discharge comply with international standards.

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