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Update on IAEA International Remediation Expert Mission in Japan

Japan Mission

The IAEA International Remediation Expert Mission examines Reactor Unit 3 during the team's visit to TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, 11 October 2011. (Photo: G. Verlini/IAEA)

An IAEA international expert mission is visiting Japan to help the country develop its remediation plans, following the nuclear accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The mission, requested by the Japanese Government, comprises 12 international experts from several countries and IAEA experts who are visiting Japan from 7 to 15 October 2011.

On 11 October 2011, the mission visited the accident site at TEPCO's Fukushima's Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the morning, the mission had paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of the Fukushima Prefecture.

Following the conclusion of the visit to the Fukushima Prefecture, the IAEA Mission Team returned to Tokyo where it was due to hold further meetings with Japanese officials and draft its preliminary report. The team was led by Juan Carlos Lentijo, the General Director for Radiation Protection at Spain's nuclear regulatory authority.

9 - 10 October 2011

On their arrival in Fukushima on 9 October, the team met members of the Fukushima Decontamination Team as well as staff from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's (JAEA) Fukushima office for a briefing on the environmental remediation efforts underway in the area.

In the afternoon of the same day, the team visited the area surrounding the Haramachi Thermal Power Plant in the city of Minamisouma. The city, once a renowned holiday destination, was badly affected by the tsunami that hit Japan's east coast on 11 March 2011.

The team then visited a remediation model site located in the hills inland from the city of Minamisouma, where methods and technologies for the remediation of forestry areas are being evaluated.

On 10 October 2011, the team visited four locations where model remediation projects are being carried out by the Fukushima Decontamination Team and JAEA. These include the Tominari Elementary School and the Shimooguni Central Assembly Hall, both located in the city of Date.

The team also visited on the same day two sites where verification studies for the application of remediation technologies in agriculture are being conducted. Both sites are located in the territory of the village of Iitate.

At one site, rice has been planted in a paddy where a layer of earth with elevated levels of radiocesium was removed from the top soil.

In a near-by site known as Iitate village clear centre, the team received a briefing on a series of tests that are being carried out on the combustion of crops and soil with elevated levels of radioactivity.

At all of these demonstration sites, experts are evaluating the efficiency of a number of methods and technologies that can be used in environmental remediation strategies.

Background

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has led to the radiological contamination of large areas. The Government of Japan has been formulating a strategy and plans to implement countermeasures to remediate these areas.

The IAEA organized an International Fact Finding Expert Mission of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which was conducted between 24 May and 2 June 2011.

The current mission is a follow-up to the fact finding mission held earlier in the year.

The IAEA's International Remediation Expert Mission to Japan is an essential component of the IAEA's Nuclear Safety Action Plan, approved by the IAEA Board of Governors on 13 September and endorsed by all 151 Member States at the recent IAEA General Conference in September 2011. The Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework.

The final report of the International Remediation Expert Mission will be presented to the Japanese Government in the month following the conclusion of the mission.

See Story Resources for more information.

-- By Giovanni Verlini, IAEA Division of Public Information


(Note to Media: We encourage you to republish these stories and kindly request attribution to the IAEA).