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South Korean team embarks on trip to inspect Japan wastewater

May 19, 2023 - 16:33 By Kim Arin
Park Ku-yeon (left), the first deputy chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, speaks during a press briefing on Friday. (Yonhap)

A 21-member team of South Korean experts are visiting Japan for six days from Sunday to inspect safety of the waste water from the quake-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant to be released into the Pacific.

According to the Prime Minister’s office on Friday, the team comprises experts from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety and the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.

Over the course of six days the South Korean experts will meet with Tokyo Electric Power Company officials and nuclear power regulators there to examine the possible impact the treated waste water would have on the environment.

On this day the ruling People Power Party invited Wade Allison, a British professor of physics at the University of Oxford, to speak about the Fukushima waste water safety concerns.

Allison, who is here for the publication of his book, said that he has “no doubt at all” that people do not have to worry about the waste water.

He said that he “can think of no particular effect from the (treated) waste water (on the human body),” which he likened to having a CT scan or medical X rays. “That amount of radiation will not do anything to you,” he said.

He said that there was no reason for the Japanese government to try to deceive the IAEA.

“I don’t have to trust the Japanese. The IAEA are the arbiters of double-checking (the safety),” he said. “It would be stupid of the Japanese government to deceive the IAEA, and those inspectors have done their work.”

He said that he was speaking up on this day because he wanted his grandchildren to “live in a nuclear world.”

“I’m not a politician. ... Nuclear energy is the most wonderful gift to the world,” he said. “Our last generation is guilty of making people frightened of it. It’s very important that the next generation is not.”

The head of the ruling party’s policy committee Rep. Sung Il-jong said that his party invited the UK expert to “prevent science from being damaged by scaremongering and politics.”

The opposition Democratic Party of Korea leaders on Friday called for canceling the dispatch of experts, claiming that the Yoon Suk Yeol administration was “intent on defending the Japanese government.”

“The inspection would only end up justifying Japan’s plan to discharge the contaminated water,” they said in a statement.