Korea to raise Fukushima is­sue at IMO meet­ing

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Nam Hyun-woo [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

The gov­ern­ment will raise the is­sue of Ja­pan’s plan to dump con­tam­i­nated wa­ter from the de­funct Fukushima nu­clear power plant into the Pa­cific Ocean at a global con­fer­ence of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion, ac­cord­ing to the fish­eries min­istry, Sun­day.

This is the lat­est ef­fort by the gov­ern­ment to de­ter Tokyo from its plan to dis­charge at least 1.1 mil­lion tons of ra­di­a­tion con­tam­i­nated wa­ter stored in the plant, which a tsunami de­stroyed in 2011. If the wa­ter is re­leased, Korea is ex­pected to suf­fer dam­age to its fish­eries in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Oceans and Fish­eries, senior of­fi­cials will at­tend the Lon­don Con­ven­tion and Pro­to­col meet­ing at the head­quar­ters of the IMO in the U.K. cap­i­tal through­out this week, and will raise con­cerns about the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter with del­e­gates from mem­ber coun­tries.

The Lon­don Con­ven­tion and Pro­to­col is aimed at pre­vent­ing ma­rine pol­lu­tion from the dump­ing of waste and other mat­ter. The man­age­ment of ra­dioac­tive waste is on the agenda for this year’s meet­ing.

“We plan to raise aware­ness on this is­sue among the mem­ber states and de­mand that Ja­pan trans­par­ently dis­close in­for­ma­tion over its han­dling of the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said. “Also, we will un­der­score that this is­sue should be a mat­ter for con­tin­u­ous dis­cus­sion.”

The move comes af­ter Min­istry of Sci­ence and ICT First Vice Min­is­ter Moon Mi-ok’s speech at the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency Gen­eral Con­fer­ence last month.

Dur­ing the speech, Moon said, “High-level Ja­panese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have stated that a ma­rine dis­charge is in­evitable as a way to deal with the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter at Fukushima,” and stressed, “It is no longer Ja­pan’s do­mes­tic prob­lem but a grave in­ter­na­tional is­sue that can af­fect the global ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.”

How­ever, Tokyo has been dis­mis­sive of Seoul’s con­cerns, say­ing they were not based on facts or sci­en­tific ev­i­dence.

Along with in­ter­na­tional ef­forts, the min­istry is seek­ing do­mes­tic ini­tia­tives to pre­vent the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter from en­ter­ing Korean wa­ters.

It is con­duct­ing spe­cial in­spec­tions of ves­sels that took on bal­last wa­ter near Fukushima, with plans to dis­charge it in Korean wa­ters, by tak­ing sam­ples from the ships along with the Nu­clear Safety and Se­cu­rity Com­mis­sion.

The min­istry said that it de­cided to launch the in­spec­tions to ad­dress Kore­ans’ grow­ing con­cerns about con­tam­i­nated wa­ter en­ter­ing the coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.

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