China urges Japan to stop ocean discharge of Fukushima treated water

China renewed its request on Tuesday for Japan to halt a planned discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, questioning Tokyo's claim that it is the safest and most reliable option.

During a press conference just before the International Atomic Energy Agency unveiled its safety review of the plan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said, "We urge Japan to be responsible to humanity and our posterity, stop the ocean discharge plan and study other options."

She also expressed doubt that the IAEA report will serve as justification for Japan to move ahead with the controversial water release, noting that the U.N. nuclear watchdog conducted its assessment at the request of the Japanese government, and its mandate was limited to the ocean discharge option.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao stated in a news conference in Tokyo that the IAEA is an international agency that promotes the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technology and is "not an appropriate agency to assess the long-term impact of nuclear-contaminated water on the marine environment."

The IAEA concluded in its report that Japan's plan on the water release aligns with international safety standards and the move would have "a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment."

The Japanese government aims to start the discharge around this summer.

Massive amounts of radioactive water have been generated in the process of cooling melted reactor fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011.

The water is treated at a processing facility to remove most contaminants, except tritium, and stored in tanks installed on the premises. But the tanks are nearing capacity.

© Kyodo News