Fukushima radioactive water leakage accident once again demonstrates TEPCO management disorder: Chinese FM

The Fukushima accident once again highlights the deep-rooted problems of disorder and chaos in the internal management of Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Meanwhile, Japan has a responsibility to promptly and fully disclose information about the incident in a transparent manner and make responsible statements, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday, after Japanese media reported that 5.5 tons of water was contaminated with radioactive substances Material leaked from a reactor equipment at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Japan's plan to dump nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea is expected to take 30 years or even longer. “Can the Japanese government ensure safety and reliability in future emissions management? Can Fukushima's nuclear-contaminated water purification system and ocean disposal facilities function stably and effectively in the long term? We have reason to worry and have doubts about it,” Wang said.

According to Xinhua News Agency, citing local media reports, TEPCO estimated the amount of water spilled at about 5.5 tons, potentially containing 22 billion becquerels of radioactive materials such as cesium and strontium.

According to a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the water was found to have leaked from a valve that had been left open during cleaning work on the absorption tower.

The accident once again underscores the need and importance of establishing a long-term effective international monitoring agreement, Wang said. China urges Japan to respond to the concerns of the international community with a responsible attitude and dispose of nuclear-contaminated water responsibly.

China also called on Japan to fully cooperate in establishing independent and effective long-term international monitoring arrangements involving neighboring countries and other stakeholders, and effectively prevent irreversible consequences of the discharge, Wang said.

On the same day, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Japan also said that the incident exposed the Japanese government's ineffective surveillance measures. This demonstrates “once again” the lack of long-term reliability of the nuclear-contaminated water treatment system and underscores the need for international monitoring, the spokesman said.

China will closely monitor the further impact of the accident and hopes that Japan will promptly disclose relevant information, the spokesman noted.

The spokesman emphasized that the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water is linked to the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and international public interests.

Japan began discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean in August 2023, despite facing opposition and concerns from local fishermen and other countries.

TEPCO has unveiled a plan to release about 54,600 tons of nuclear-contaminated water from its facility into the sea during fiscal 2024.

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