Thu, Sep 05, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Japan says no decision yet on Fukushima water

Reuters, TOKYO

Japanese government officials yesterday told diplomats they were still considering options for handling contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power’s (TEPCO) wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant amid worries the water might be dumped into the ocean.

A massive body of tainted water — more than 900,000 tonnes as of last month — is building up at the plant, crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as TEPCO tries to cool the melted fuel cores by pouring water over them.

The firm has said it would run out of tank space by mid-2022.

The briefing for embassy officials in Tokyo follows a meeting last month of a government panel of experts looking into ways to solve the water problem. The final government decision is to be made based on a report by the panel.

Asked by one of the participating embassy officials about the timing of the panel decision, Japanese officials said that such timing has not been fixed, according to a media briefing held later in the day.

The briefing for diplomats was attended by 27 embassy officials from 22 nations and regions, including South Korea and the US. No protests or demands have been made by the participating diplomats, according to the media briefing.

“With transparency in mind, Japan will continue providing the international community with information [on the Fukushima Dai-ichi situation],” Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Nuclear Energy Cooperation Division Director Koichiro Matsumoto told diplomats at the start of the meeting, the outset of which was open to reporters.

The meeting comes after South Korea, locked in trade and territorial rows with Japan, last month summoned a senior official from the Japanese embassy in Seoul to ask about Japan’s stance on dealing with the Fukushima Dai-ichi water.

However, a ministry official told reporters that briefings for diplomats on the matter have been held more than 100 times since the March 2011 disaster, and the one yesterday was held to pass information discussed at the government panel meeting last month.

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