IAEA Director General Visits Japan

The IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, has visited Japan this week as part of his ongoing commitment to monitor the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Mr Grossi also met with government leaders in Tokyo and local stakeholder and youth groups in Fukushima.

This is the Director General's first trip to Japan since the water discharge began. Last July, he met with the Prime Minister in Tokyo to hand over the IAEA's comprehensive review of Japan's plan to release the water and visited the planned discharge point.

Mr Grossi explained: "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."

In August, Japan began discharging the treated water and IAEA expert analysis of the four batches released since then have confirmed the tritium concentration levels are far below Japan's operational limits.

At the power plant, Mr Grossi visited the vertical shaft of the discharge system, where the treated water, already diluted with seawater, travels to the sea for the controlled release.

During his trip to the Fukushima prefecture, Mr Grossi also met once again with key local stakeholder groups, to hear their opinions about the accident clean-up and share his insights about the progress so far. He had a constructive interaction with a coalition of local mayors, heads of fishery and agricultural associations and other groups and explained how the IAEA provides an "independent, impartial evaluation" with "full transparency, technical accuracy and wide and open and honest consultation."

While in Tokyo, the Director General met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, Environment Minister Shintaro Ito, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Ken Saito and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi. Their talks covered the ongoing discharge of the water and the remediation measures to deal with contaminated soil from around the plant, among others.

Mr Grossi also met with industry leaders to examine challenges and opportunities around the nuclear sector, such as using small modular reactors to decarbonize data centres. When meeting with Katsuhiko Kawazoe from telecoms giant NTT, the Director General discussed recent developments in fusion energy, and explained his flagship initiatives to use nuclear science to improve health, address plastic pollution and increase food security, among others.

Mr Grossi furthered this development agenda when in Fukushima, by inaugurating a new anchor centre for his Rays of Hope initiative, to increase access to cancer care in developing countries by building radiotherapy and nuclear medicine capacity. The collaboration with the Japanese network unites 16 medical universities and hospitals.

"From Fukushima, a place that has suffered so much, we are trying to make sure that others who have less, will suffer less," said Mr Grossi during the signing ceremony.

The Director General also signed a Contribution Agreement with Onchikai General Incorporated Foundation in Fukushima. "This generous donation enhances our joint efforts in providing advanced cancer treatments, marking a step forward in our mission of closing the cancer care gap," he said.

During his trip, the Director General addressed students at the University of Tokyo on IAEA activities. A meeting with students from Fukushima prefecture underscored the importance of the Agency's work at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for future generations.

In Tokyo, Mr Grossi spoke at a symposium on the nuclear supply chain, sharing his views about Japan's leadership in the field thanks to its industrial strength and plans for more nuclear. "The IAEA will be there along the way to facilitate Japan's safe and secure use of nuclear power," he added.

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