(ATTN: UPDATES with inspection team's press conference in last para)
By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday requested a team of experts to transparently and comprehensively present the outcome of their inspection of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The 21-member team, headed by Nuclear Safety and Security Commission Chairperson Yoo Guk-hee, returned home Friday after completing their six-day trip to Japan that included the on-site inspection of the plant ahead of its controversial release of contaminated water into the ocean scheduled for this summer.
Han made the remarks during a Cabinet meeting as critics, including the main opposition Democratic Party, have raised questions about the inspection while arguing it was a mere formality insufficient to verify the safety of the discharge process.
"Our government has dealt in a stern manner with the Japanese government's plan to release contaminated water under the absolute principle that people's health and safety come first," Han said, asking the inspection team to report what they saw in Japan to the people "in a transparent and detailed manner."
The trip included a two-day inspection of the plant's facilities to examine its custom purification system, known as ALPS, and facilities related to the K4 tanks, which are designed to store and measure radioactive substances.
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant's cooling systems, resulting in the release of a large amount of radiation.
Currently, the plant stores over 1.3 million tons of water treated by ALPS. The water discharge is set to begin this summer and will take decades to complete, which Japanese officials view as an unavoidable step in the decommissioning process.
The team members will hold a press conference on Wednesday to announce the results of the inspection.