UN experts arrive in Japan ahead of planned release of Fukushima plant water

A team of experts from the United Nations arrived in Japan on Monday ahead of a planned release of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, the Associated Press reported

Japanese officials said that six members from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which reports to the United Nations, will meet with them at the nuclear plant to discuss technical details about the release. 

The six-member team includes members from South Korea, France and Russia, according to the AP. 

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Japan’s government had requested assistance from the IAEA to ensure the discharge meets international safety standards.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings announced in April that it will gradually start to release treated radioactive water by the spring of 2023, allowing the removal of hundreds of storage tanks to facilitate the plant’s decommissioning.

Local fishermen and residents, along with neighboring countries including China and South Korea, have all opposed the planned release, the AP reported. 

The dispute comes a decade after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the nuclear plant’s cooling system, which triggered the meltdown of three reactors.

In the aftermath of the disaster, large amounts of water used to cool the highly radioactive reactor cores leaked out. 

Japan’s economy and industry minister, Kōichi Hagiuda, said the government will fully explain the outcome of the IAEA review “in a courteous and transparent manner.”