If Fukushima wastewater is safe for drinking or swimming, Japan should do so instead of dumping: Chinese FM

2023-07-12 08:55:21Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The IAEA rushed out a report with limited and one-sided conclusions on the plan to dump nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, and failed to address the concerns of the international community on the complex issue, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in response to the recent controversial remarks made by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who claimed that the contaminated wastewater is safe for drinking or swimming. 

Grossi made the controversial remarks during his visits to South Korea and New Zealand. According to South Korean media outlet KBS, Grossi claimed the contaminated wastewater was safe enough to swim in after being treated and diluted  in an interview with a South Korean news outlet. 

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Tuesday that "If you pay attention to recent media reports, it is not difficult to notice that the comprehensive assessment report of the IAEA is controversial, and experts involved in the assessment have expressed different views, which is an undeniable fact." 

If someone believes that the Fukushima contaminated wastewater is safe for drinking or swimming, we suggest that Japan should make good use of the contaminated water for those purposes and allow those individuals to drink it or swim in it, rather than dumping it into the ocean and causing concerns among the international community, Wang said. 

This once again demonstrates that the institution has hastily issued a report on the complex issue of the dumping of nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea. The related conclusions with limitations and one-sidedness fail to address the international community's concerns regarding the plan for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Wang said. 

Wang noted that the Japanese side cannot treat the institution's report as "carte blanche" to allow the dumping. 

Wang added that the IAEA did not assess the effectiveness and long-term reliability of the treatment of nuclear-contaminated wastewater or the purification equipment, and cannot guarantee that all nuclear-contaminated water to be treated will meet the standards for the next 30 years. 

The long-term impact of the discharge of nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the ocean on the marine environment and food safety is not something that can be easily concluded by the IAEA, Wang said.

The Japanese side has not invited professional organizations such as the World Health Organization to conduct assessments from a health perspective, but only invited the IAEA to conduct an assessment based on a limited amount of sample data provided by Japan. The conclusions drawn by the organization based on the assumption that the Japanese purification system will remain effective and reliable in the long term, and that there will be no mistake or error in the management of the discharged water over a period of 30 years, are not credible, Wang said. 

As the scheduled dumping start date is approaching despite outrage at home and abroad, a Japanese environmental NGO and city assembly is going to hold another large-scale protest titled "Don't discharge the contaminated water into the sea" in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture on July 17. 

The parade will have local fishermen and the representatives of fishery associations, experts on fish immunology and genetics and breeding, as well as many citizens showing up and making speeches at Onahama fish market, the Global Times learned from Yoshitaka Ikarashi, a resident of Iwaki. 

"The sea of our hometown, the sea of Japan, the sea of the world must not be polluted by radioactivity anymore," read a poster for the parade sent by Ikarashi.

It is unacceptable to make the victims of the nuclear accident suffer even more and to spread marine pollution, according to the poster. 


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