Ukraine ambassador supports Fukushima treated water release

The Ukrainian ambassador to Japan on Friday voiced support for the plan to discharge treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the nearby sea, despite concerns about the plan from neighboring countries such as China and South Korea.

The plan has been "managed in a proper and scientifically justified way" and "is very carefully designed not to harm the environment," Sergiy Korsunsky said on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the country's northeast.

The ambassador told a press conference at the Japan National Press Club that nuclear power is an "important source of energy" and he saw no need to decommission all nuclear power plants because of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in present-day Ukraine and the Fukushima accident.

Following Russia's invasion in February last year, Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has fallen into Russian control. Russian attacks have repeatedly led to a temporary loss of power supply to the plant, heightening concerns about a serious accident.

Fears have also grown that Moscow could use nuclear weapons on its neighbor as the war has dragged into its second year.

Korsunsky expressed hope that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be able to attend this year's Group of Seven summit talks in May in Hiroshima as the "voice of the country that suffered Chernobyl."

Japan will seek the endorsement of the G-7 nations for its plan to discharge the treated water when it hosts a meeting of the group's energy ministers in April.

Vast amounts of water used to continually cool melted fuel and fuel debris have been accumulating in storage tanks at the seaside plant. With the tanks fast filling up the premises, the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., are set to discharge the water into the Pacific Ocean beginning around this spring or summer.

The government says the treated water, which contains low-level concentrations of tritium, will be diluted with seawater, and they stress the levels are lower than the World Health Organization's tritium limit in drinking water. But local fishing communities remain opposed to the plan, while China has urged Japan to "properly handle this matter in a responsible manner."

© Kyodo News