Unplanned Events

Fukushima-Daiichi / IAEA Hires Japanese Experts To Help Seawater Monitoring

By David Dalton
30 October 2020

Move is the result of Covid-19 travel restrictions
IAEA Hires Japanese Experts To Help Seawater Monitoring
File photo of seawater sampling near the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station. Courtesy Petr Pavilec/IAEA.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has commissioned Japanese experts to independently observe and document the collection of seawater, marine sediment and fish samples from coastal waters in Fukushima Prefecture, close to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station.

The agency said the aim is to support the quality assurance of data collection and analysis by Japanese laboratories for radioactivity measurements.

The mission, from 4 to 20 November, is the 10th organised by the IAEA, at the request of the Japanese Government, to verify that sea area monitoring around the nuclear station remains comprehensive, credible and transparent.

Unlike the previous nine such missions when the IAEA sent its own team including international experts, three independent Japanese experts will this time monitor the sampling on behalf of the agency due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The IAEA has organised missions since 2014 to support the collection of marine samples for radioactivity analyses. For this mission, the independent domestic experts will observe the sample collection of seawater and marine sediment samples near Fukushima-Daiichi, and fish caught by commercial fishing operations in Fukushima Prefecture.

The team will report directly to the IAEA on the integrity of sample collection, identification, tracking and pre-treatment.

The mission is a follow-up to a 2013 report which reviewed Japan's efforts to decommission Fukushima-Daiichi. In the report, the IAEA recommended that Japan follow an extensive data quality assurance programme to build confidence in the accuracy and quality of the sea area monitoring data.

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