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Chinese spokesperson: New Fukushima nuclear wastewater leak heightens international concerns

Xinhua | August 18, 2023


This photo taken on March 6, 2023 shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Futabacho, Futabagun of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (Xinhua/Zhang Xiaoyu)

The latest reported leak of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has again heightened international concerns over the competence of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the lack of effective regulation from the Japanese government, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a press briefing when asked to comment on media reports that TEPCO recently confirmed a leak of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as a result of a crack in the hose used to transport the wastewater.

The legitimacy and safety of Japan's ocean discharge plan have long been questioned by the international community, and people in Fukushima have pointed out many times that since the nuclear plant accident, TEPCO's handling of the aftermath has been highly problematic, Wang said.

People are questioning TEPCO's ability to properly handle the nuclear-contaminated water, Wang added.

"Can TEPCO handle the wastewater in a safe and responsible way throughout the process? Can it manage the 30-year-long discharge without mistakes and errors? Can it ensure the long-term effectiveness and reliability of the treatment facility? Can it conduct wastewater sampling and monitoring activities in strict compliance with the rules? The international community is very doubtful about that," Wang said.

Wang reiterated that the Japanese side should take seriously the legitimate concerns of the international community and the people in Japan, stop pushing through the ocean discharge plan, have full and sincere communication with neighboring countries, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a truly responsible way, and accept rigorous international oversight.