Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks on the IAEA’s Releasing of a Comprehensive Report on the Disposal of Nuclear-contaminated Water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Q: According to reports, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a Comprehensive Report on the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which believes that Japan’s plan to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea complies with international safety standards. The IAEA will conduct long-term monitoring over Japan’s discharge activities. What’s China’s comment?

A: China noted a Comprehensive Report on the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station released by the IAEA. It is learned that the report failed to fully reflect views from experts that participated in the review. The conclusion was not shared by all experts. The Chinese side regrets the hasty release of the report.

We believe that the IAEA report should not be the “shield” or “greenlight” for Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. Due to its limited mandate, the IAEA failed to review the justification and legitimacy of Japan’s ocean discharge plan, assess the long-term effectiveness of Japan’s purification facility and corroborate the authenticity and accuracy of Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water data. Therefore the conclusion is largely limited and incomplete. We noted that Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated that the IAEA conducted the review at the request of the Japanese government and the report is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of Japan’s ocean discharge policy. 

Simply for saving cost, Japan has insisted on discharging the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea in disregard of the concerns and opposition from the international community and taken the Pacific Ocean as the “sewer”. No matter what the report says, it will not change the fact that Japan will release millions of tonnes of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean in the next three decades. Will Japan’s purification facility be effective in the long-term? Can the international community be timely informed when the discharged water exceeds the discharge limit? What impact will the long term accumulation and concentration of radionuclides bring to the marine environment, food safety and people’s health? These are the questions that the IAEA report failed to answer.

Twelve years ago, Japan received supports from all over the world in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Twelve years on, Japan has chosen to shift the risk of nuclear contamination onto the whole humanity. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment, and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter in 1972 prohibits the dumping of all radioactive wastes into the ocean from man-made structures at sea. What Japan does contravenes its international moral responsibility and obligations under international law.

We once again urge the Japanese side to stop its ocean discharge plan, and earnestly dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, safe and transparent manner. If Japan insists on going ahead with the plan, it will have to bear all the consequences arising from this. We urge the Japanese side to work with the IAEA to put in place as soon as possible a long-term international monitoring mechanism that would involve stakeholders including Japan’s neighboring countries.

Embaixada da República Popular da China na República de Moçambique