Recently, a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Japan to conduct a regulatory review of water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) at the Fukushima Daiichi.
On January 20, after the review was completed, Gustavo Caruso, director and coordinator of the IAEA’s Fukushima ALPS project (within the agency’s department of Nuclear Safety and Security), met the press. He confirmed that the approval process carried out by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) was appropriate, and stated, “Requirements and recommendations made by the previous mission had mostly been taken into consideration.”
From January 16 to 20, the IAEA team, composed of Director Caruso accompanied by IAEA officials and international experts, visited the site and spoke with representatives of the NRA about its process of examinations and confirmations of action plans, etc., for the installation of facilities to release the ALPS-treated water into the sea. The IAEA’s review of regulatory aspects of the handling of the ALPS-treated water was its second, following one in March 2022.
As mentioned above, Director Caruso met the press at the Foreign Press Center in Tokyo on January 20 after the review was completed. He praised the NRA for its “regulatory commitment to ensuring that the release is based on international safety standards.”
On January 13, a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers had indicated that the actual release of water was expected to start sometime in the coming spring or summer after work to install the release facilities is completed and pre-service inspections are carried out by the NRA.
At the press briefing, Director Caruso said that the IAEA would continue to monitor inspection activities until release is launched. He also said a report on the mission would be released within three months.
As for activities to facilitate public understanding on the handling of ALPS-treated water, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), has sponsored television spots domestically and conducted an explanatory video conferencing for the South Korean government.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is similarly engaged in activities to facilitate understanding overseas, including the December 23 renewal of the Chinese and Korean versions of its Treated Water Portal Site.