Chinese Vice Foreign Minister holds meeting with IAEA chief regarding Japan’s discharge of radioactive water

Ma Zhaoxu

21st September 2023 – (New York) Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Ma Zhaoxu, held a meeting with Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in New York, United States, on Thursday. The primary focus of the meeting was China’s stance regarding Japan’s plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.

Vice Minister Ma took the opportunity to reiterate China’s position and concerns regarding Japan’s proposed ocean release of the wastewater. He emphasized the importance of the IAEA maintaining an objective, scientific, and impartial approach in fulfilling its responsibilities related to Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated wastewater. Ma further urged the IAEA to address the legitimate and reasonable concerns expressed by the international community.

In response, Director General Grossi expressed high regard for China’s position and concerns. He assured Vice Minister Ma that the IAEA values China’s input and will maintain close communication and cooperation with China on this matter.

The discharge of nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has been a topic of international concern and debate. Japan’s plan involves treating the wastewater to remove most radioactive materials, except for tritium, before releasing it into the ocean. While Japan maintains that the release will meet safety standards and has received the endorsement of the IAEA, several countries and environmental organizations remain cautious and have called for more comprehensive assessments.

China’s emphasis on an objective and scientific approach aligns with its commitment to safeguarding the marine environment and the interests of neighbouring countries. The Chinese government has urged Japan to provide more detailed information and engage in transparent dialogue to address the concerns of potentially affected nations.

As the global authority responsible for promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and ensuring nuclear safety, the IAEA plays a crucial role in assessing and monitoring such situations. The agency’s involvement is vital in providing independent and accurate information to the international community, particularly regarding potential environmental and health impacts.