IAEA Confirms Japan's ALPS Water Release on Track

The discharge of treated water from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) is progressing in accordance with the Implementation Plan approved by Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the Task Force set up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed.

The Task Force completed its second four-day mission to Japan since the start of the water releases in August 2023, to assess whether the approach taken by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Government of Japan to discharge ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water is consistent with international safety standards. The standards constitute the worldwide reference for protecting the public and the environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Japan began discharging the treated water on 24 August 2023, and IAEA expert analysis of the five batches released since then have confirmed the tritium concentration in each batch of ALPS treated water released to date is far below Japan's operational limit.

During the mission from 23 to 26 April, the Task Force - comprised of IAEA and international experts - visited facilities used for discharging the ALPS treated water at the FDNPS. Accompanied by TEPCO staff, the Task Force observed the tanks holding the water prepared for discharge, the transfer pumps building driving the water through the discharge system, the emergency isolation valves, the seawater pipe header diluting the water with seawater and the vertical shaft from where the diluted treated water travels to the sea. The Task Force also examined the radiation monitors and flow rate detectors feeding live data to the IAEA's dedicated real time monitoring page.

The Task Force engaged in technical discussions with TEPCO - operator of the site - with reference to available source and environmental monitoring data and operational experience gathered during the first five discharges that occurred from August 2023 to April this year. TEPCO began the release of the fifth batch of diluted ALPS treated water on 19 April. The Task Force also met with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

In the IAEA Comprehensive Report on the Safety Review of the ALPS-Treated Water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that was released prior to the discharge, the Task Force provided several topics that it would review during the discharge of ALPS treated water.

Gustavo Caruso, Chair of the Task Force, said, "The Task Force reviewed the consistency of activities before and during the operation of the ALPS treated water discharges with the relevant international safety standards. The independent and science-based work of the IAEA and the Task Force will continue throughout the process, as we are focused on the ongoing and long-term activities."

The main outcomes from the Task Force's mission this week will be summarized in a report to be made publicly available later this year. The report on the First Review Mission to Japan after the Start of ALPS Treated Water Discharge (October 2023) is available online.

The IAEA Task Force has conducted seven ALPS-related missions to Japan since February 2022.

IAEA's independent safety review

The IAEA's independent, Comprehensive Report issued on 4 July 2023 found Japan's approach to discharging the treated water is consistent with international safety standards and the results of the radiological environmental impact assessment performed by TEPCO show that the release as planned would have a negligible radiological impact to people and the environment. It was a culmination of two years of work by the IAEA Task Force, which includes external experts from 11 countries - Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and Viet Nam.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi established an IAEA office at the FDNPS in July 2023 and signed an agreement with Japan in September 2023 that outlines the IAEA's comprehensive and continuous safety review at the site and at sea. Conducting Task Force review missions is one way in which the IAEA will continue its multiyear safety review. "The IAEA said, and I said, that we would be monitoring the controlled discharge of the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant before, during and after the operation. The IAEA is here, and we will continue to be here until the very last drop," Mr Grossi said during his visit to Japan in March.

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