Korea to raise Fukushima issue at IMO meeting
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.