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S. Korea reiterates priority on citizens' health in handling Fukushima water issue

15:07 October 16, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign ministry reiterated its "foremost priority" to protect its citizens' health and safety Friday in dealing with Japan's potential discharge of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The ministry also said the government has been handling the issue under a vice-ministerial inter-agency dialogue platform, amid public safety concerns over Japanese media reports that Tokyo has decided to release it into the sea with an official announcement likely to come as early as this month.

"Our government has continued to stress that the Japanese side should share information transparently and maintain communication with the international community regarding the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear plant water," the ministry said in a statement.

"With the foremost priority placed on the protection of our citizens' health and safety, the government will continue to pay keen attention to Japan's activities related to the disposal of the contaminated water and will seek to craft measures in cooperation with the international community," it added.

The ministry also pointed out that it understands Tokyo has yet to finalize how it will dispose of the tritium-laced water.

Japan has been exploring various options, including evaporating the water and putting it deep underground. Observers said that discharging the treated water into the ocean might be the cheapest, and thus tempting, disposal method.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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