Participating in the session was Director General Rafael Mariano GROSSI of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The last time he had come to Japan before his recent visit was in the summer of 2023.

At the meeting, he exchanged opinions and views with other attendees after explaining the IAEA’s review of the safety of the ALPS-treated water. Such a council is convened whenever necessary as a forum for the government to engage with the prefecture and siting municipalities.

In August 2023, ALPS-treated water was released offshore, and two months later, IAEA specialists made a safety review mission to the site―the first since the release of treated water from the plant into the ocean. The mission published its report a little more than two months ago, on January 30 of this year, concluding that Japan’s activities were consistent with international safety standards.

At the recent council meeting, the director general referred to the comprehensive report on the safety of the ALPS-treated water that the IAEA submitted to the Japanese government, explaining that “the IAEA had made a very important decision” and would clearly show that “the environment would never be adversely affected.”

Based on that, he reiterated the significance of IAEA staffers being permanently stationed at Fukushima Daiichi for the purpose of affirming its independent evaluation.

Regarding the current status of release of the ALPS-treated water, Grossi said, “Less than 5% of the water has so far been released, the first phase in a long process.” He talked about the need for high transparency in the continuing release of information, as well as the importance of accurate technology and open dialogue.

At the same time, he demonstrated his concern about the political aspects, saying, “Neighboring countries have been criticizing the actions of the IAEA itself.” Asking for outspoken opinions, he added, “We came here to learn from you.”

On March 12, the IAEA director general met Minister SAITO Ken of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and made a presentation at the University of Tokyo. The following day, he visited Fukushima Daiichi after the council session, and the day after that took part in the Nuclear Supply Chain Symposium sponsored by ANRE and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF).