August 27, 2019
Today, the Government of Japan conveys its answer to a note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, regarding ALPS treated water* at Fukushima Daiichi NPS
Government of Japan’s Answer
1. Concerning the decision on handling of multi-nuclide removal equipment (ALPS) treated water, which is purified through ALPS and other equipment, a governmental subcommittee on handling ALPS treated water has been examining it in a comprehensive manner, including the perspective of countermeasure for reputational damage. Up to the present, the committee has not reached any concrete conclusion.
2. The Government of Japan has repeatedly explained and continues to explain the examination status on various occasions such as the briefing session for the diplomatic missions including the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Tokyo (October, 2018) and International Conference (WTO SPS committee, July 2019) . In addition, briefing sessions on this subject for the Embassy of the ROK were held in a courteous and transparent manner for four times since October 2018. Furthermore, METI made a presentation, at the ROK’s request, on the current status of contaminated water management and ALPS treated water at TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company)’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station at MOF-MLIT Marine Environment Policy Meeting.
3. On August 19, 2019, Minister of the Embassy of Japan in the ROK visited the ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Japan’s request, to explain the above mentioned situation.
4. METI and TEPCO have been sharing information on discussions about the handling of ALPS treated water, data and other information through their websites. Answers for specific matters requested by the ROK are as follows.
(1) Timing which the tanks become full
TEPCO reported at the subcommittee on 9 August 2019 that 1) under the current tank construction plan, the timing which the quantity of the ALPS treated water reaches the maximum of the capacity of the tanks will be around summer of 2022, and 2) TEPCO will further examine its whole site utilization, considering the tanks and other facilities’ installation which will be needed for decommissioning work, as well as limitation of site use. The subcommittee will continue to examine the handling of ALPS treated water. All documents for the subcommittee are available at METI’s website (*1).
(2) Possibility of the leakage of contaminated groundwater
As the Government of Japan received IAEA’s assessment that reads “ongoing monitoring in the surrounding ocean area has detected no significant increase in radiation levels outside the port or in the open sea, and has shown that radiation levels in these areas remain within the standards of the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water.”, and “the IAEA considers the public is safe”, there has been no leakage of contaminated groundwater at a level which has any impact on the public safety. For IAEA’s assessment, please refer to the IAEA assessment (December 2013) (*3), and the 4th IAEA review mission report (January, 2019) (*4). Data on the concentration of radioactive substances in sea water inside/outside the port is updated monthly and is available at METI’s website (*2).
(3) Management of ALPS treated water
ALPS treated water, which is stored in the tanks, is the water, which most of the radionuclides except tritium have been removed by several treatment equipment from the highly contaminated water generated in the buildings. In storing the ALPS treated water, a number of countermeasures for leakage, such as the building of double weirs, have been taken. As of 18 July 2019, the amount of stored ALPS treated water is approximately 1.15 million m3. The concentration of radioactive substances varies from one group of the tanks to another. Detailed data including the status of storage is available at TEPCO’s website (*5).
(4) Examination status of handling of ALPS treated water
At the subcommittee, handling of ALPS treated water is currently under examination in a comprehensive manner, including from the perspective of countermeasure for reputational damage. The time to decide Japan’s policy is not yet decided. All documents for the subcommittee are available at METI’s website (*1).
(5) Opinion of international environmental organization
As stated in 1. and 4. (4) above, handling of ALPS treated water is continuously under examination. The subcommittee has not reached any concrete conclusion.
[METI website]Top page (English)
- Top page (English)
- Subcommittee on handling of ALPS treated water (Japanese) (*1)
- Subcommittee on handling of ALPS treated water (Summary) (English) (*1)
- Sea water monitoring results at inside/outside the port (English) (*2) Appendix1
[IAEA website (English)]
- IAEA Assessment (*3) (December, 2013)
- IAEA International Peer Review Mission on Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap Towards Decommissioning of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1-4 (Fourth Mission) (5-13 November 2018), Mission Report (*4) (January, 2019)
[TEPCO website (English)]
5. Moreover a Briefing Session on the current status of ALPS Treated Water at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station will be held on 4th September 2019, at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. All interested diplomatic missions, including the Embassy of the ROK in Tokyo, are welcome to participate in the session.
Links to related information
- Embassy of Japan in Korea website (Japanese)
- Embassy of Japan in Korea website (English)
- Embassy of Japan in Korea website (Korean)
Division in Charge
Nuclear Accident Response Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry