New Zealand confident about IAEA advice on Fukushima water release plan


By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta told the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog on Monday that her government has full confidence in the IAEA’s advice on the proposed Fukushima treated water release.

“I also felt it was important to draw attention to the Pacific’s traumatic experience with nuclear testing and asked directly that meaningful engagement continue with the Pacific region on the proposed release,” she said in a statement following the meeting with Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

After a two-year review, the IAEA said Japan’s plans to release some 500 Olympic size swimming pools worth of water from the Fukushimi plant wrecked by a tsunami more than a decade ago were consistent with global safety standards and that they would have a “negligible radiological impact to people and the environment”.

Following the release of the report, Grossi visited South Korea. He is currently in New Zealand before travelling to the Cook Islands where he will meet with Pacific Islands Forum chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown.

The Pacific Islands Forum, a regional bloc of 17 island nations, has raised significant concerns about the release of the water fearing among other things the impact on fisheries.

Mahuta said New Zealand acutely understands the effects nuclear testing has had on its Pacific neighbours in the past, and the government would continue to call for the release of the water to be dealt with through transparency and meaningful dialogue.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Lincoln Feast.)

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