Statement by Ambassador HIKIHARA Takeshi at the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting starting on Monday, 11 September 2023 Item 3: Nuclear and radiation safety

Thank you, Chair,
Let me first join previous speakers to express our heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the devastating earthquakes which hit the Kingdom of Morocco over the weekend. As Prime Minister Kishida said yesterday, Japan stands by the people and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco and ready to provide support in any possible way.
Japan highly appreciates the Agency’s activities described in the Director General’s report entitled ‘Nuclear and Radiation Safety’. Japan thanks Director General Grossi, Deputy Director General Evrard and her team for their tireless efforts. The Agency’s wide-ranging activities are essential in enhancing nuclear safety among Member States.
Japan continues to commit itself to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the Joint Convention. We welcome the outcome of the Joint Eighth and Ninth Review Meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety which was held in March this year.
My delegation also attaches great importance to IAEA Safety Standards. We appreciate the work of the Secretariat and all experts from Member States, including Japan, in establishing and revising the Safety Standards.
Japan has continuously supported, including by financial means, the Regulatory Cooperation Forum and the Asian Nuclear Safety Network to develop and strengthen the nuclear regulatory framework. As is mentioned in the DG’s report, the University of Tokai in Japan worked together with the IAEA in February and March to host the International School of Nuclear and Radiological Leadership for Safety. Japan also coordinated with the IAEA to hold in Japan the National Workshop on Emergency Preparedness and Response in February, and the Workshop on Safety Culture Self-Assessment for Regulatory Bodies in February to March.
Japan remains committed to contributing to enhance global nuclear safety, while further improving its own nuclear regulatory framework.
With regard to TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, I would like to provide the latest information of the ALPS treated water.
Let me first express my gratitude to our colleagues who already expressed their support to our efforts and to the Agency’s related review and monitoring exercise.
Japan has been taking all measures strictly in accordance with relevant international law as well as giving due consideration to international practice, while undergoing the review by the IAEA and engaging with the international community in a highly transparent manner based on scientific evidence. On July 4th this year, the IAEA published its Comprehensive Report, which concludes that the approach and activities for its discharge are consistent with relevant international safety standards and that the discharge will have a negligible radiological impact on people and the environment.
On August 24th, Japan started discharging ALPS treated water into the sea. Since the start of the discharge, it has been confirmed that the concentration of nuclides including tritium in sea water and marine products are far below the standards, which demonstrates that the discharge has been carried out safely as planned.
Japan is now implementing three types of monitoring in a multilayered manner with the involvement of the IAEA; Monitoring of treated water in tanks before dilution, Real time monitoring before discharge and Sea area monitoring after discharge. The results of these monitoring by the Government of Japan and TEPCO have been and will continue to be made public in a timely manner. These results reaffirm, as I mentioned before, that the discharge is safe.
If, by any chance, an unexpected event occurs, such as detecting radioactivity levels exceeding specific standards, which are far stricter than the domestic regulatory standards as well as the international standards, appropriate measures will be taken including suspending the discharge.
Japan highly appreciates that the IAEA is committed to continuing its impartial, independent, and objective safety review during the discharge phase. As part of it, the IAEA team is present at the site to monitor the discharge and assess Japan’s application of all relevant international safety standards for the water discharge.
The IAEA’s first independent sampling and analysis of seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after the discharge confirms that the tritium levels are below Japan’s operational limit. It shows consistency with the values reported by TEPCO as well as the Ministry of Environment of Japan.
Japan will continue to make every effort to ensure safe discharges, with the continued involvement of the IAEA, including its independent reviews. Japan will also continue to provide necessary information including the results of the monitoring to the international community in a timely and transparent manner and will continue its efforts to further expand proper understanding on our handling of the issue in the international community.
The situation at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities as a result of Russia’s actions has been a matter of great concern, from the perspective of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards. The aggression by the Russian Federation and its related actions must be condemned in the strongest terms. Japan expresses its appreciation to Director General Grossi and his team for their dedicated efforts related to Ukraine. In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the IAEA Director General’s “seven indispensable pillars on nuclear safety and security” derived from IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance. Japan also supports the IAEA’s “five principles” to help ensure the nuclear safety and security at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.

Before concluding, let me echo the concern expressed by Director General Grossi on the financial situation of the Agency. I hope we would come back to this critical issue under AOB.
With these comments, Japan takes note of the report contained in GOV/2023/36.
Thank you, Chair.

 (Right of Reply)
          Thank you, Chair,
          In response to the statement made by the Chinese colleague, in which many politically or emotionally charged phrases have been heard, as I have very limited time, I have to dismiss all of them, and concentrate on the most important scientific facts.  Before doing so, let me reiterate that the term “contaminated water” is not appropriate, because it is the ALPS treated water that we are discharging, not the contaminated water.
First, in reference to “No precedence of release of water after nuclear accidents”, I must reiterate that regardless of whether the nuclear power plant has experienced an accident or not, or the number of the types of radionuclides contained, the safety of the water discharged from nuclear facilities including nuclear power stations is to be judged on the basis of whether the aggregated effects of all the radionuclides contained in the water is below regulatory standards or not. This is the standard adopted internationally. And the IAEA reviewed the safety of the ALPS treated water discharge based on this standard, and reached to the conclusion as described in its comprehensive report.  
Second, I listened to the reference about Japan’s limiting the mandate of the Agency, and restricting its review exercise.
The Government of Japan has never limited the scope of the mandate of the IAEA Task Force, we cannot simply do so. The IAEA has never posed a doubt on the scope of its review on the handling of the ALPS treated water. Director General Grossi clearly mentioned that the report is “completely objective” and that he is “entirely confident in the process and conclusion.” 
Third, with regard to the long-term risks and doubts of the long-term reliability of operation by TEPCO.
The assessment of radiological environmental impacts were carefully conducted in line with international standards and guidelines, taking into account ocean dispersion, effect of bioaccumulation and long-term accumulation. Taking these elements duly into consideration, the Agency concluded that the impact on humans and the environment would be negligible. 
Regarding the reliability of TEPCO’s data, the IAEA actually reviewed whether TEPCO’s analytical capabilities and reliable work system, the Agency concluded in its report published in May this year, that “TEPCO has demonstrated that they have a sustainable and robust analytical system in place to support the ongoing technical needs at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station during the discharge of ALPS treated water”. The IAEA comprehensive report published two months ago (July 4) stated the same observation. 
Forth, I have heard an appeal or a need of the international monitoring, and I have heard the Chinese colleague mentioning that “Throughout the discharge process, the Agency should perform an impartial, independent and objective safety review.” I cannot agree more on this point.
The IAEA has a mandate to establish, adopt, and provide for application of the international safety standards in the field of nuclear energy under the statute of the IAEA. With full respect to the authority and independence of the IAEA, Japan requested the Agency to review and monitor our efforts related to this issue. And I have heard so many colleagues welcomed the Agency’s engagement.
But I have also heard a reference to “a review process driven by Member States. I have a slight doubt if it could be called “an independent review.”
Under the framework of the IAEA review, the Agency and several third countries analytical laboratories selected by the IAEA have conducted inter-laboratory comparisons of source monitoring and environmental monitoring in order to confirm the status of radioactive materials in the environment.
The IAEA’s comprehensive report acknowledges that there are clearly defined plans in place for both source monitoring and environmental monitoring. Thus, the assessment by the IAEA is both international and objective, with the participation of third countries. There is a robust system in place to ensure the safety. 
Thank you, Chair.
(Second Right of Reply)
          Thank you, Chair,
As this is my second and last right of reply, I try to concentrate my statement on the most important points.
On the long-term affect that the Chinese Ambassador referred to in his right of reply, as I already mentioned, the Comprehensive report of the Agency has taken into consideration the possible long term affects including biological accumulation, and based on that, this report has drawn the conclusion that the environmental impact is negligible. 
Beyond that, we are now in the phase where TEPCO, the Government of Japan, and the IAEA, are producing day by day the factual data that the operation is safe. Of course, as the distinguished representative of Russia mentioned, it’s a long time effort, and you have to be very enduring. We are ready to do so. The Government of Japan is ready to assume the responsibility in the coming two or three decades, and we are happy to note that the Agency will be there as long as the operation is there, and until the last drop of the water, if I take the expression of Director General Grossi. So, we will be responsible, and we will behave in a responsible manner, based upon the scientific approach.
That is how we should deal with the fear, of course everybody, every country has a right to have fears, worries or concerns. But the way we have to deal with these things is based upon a scientific approach, and in an objective manner. And we are lucky to have the Agency who is equipped with the mandate, authority, and technical expertise do this business in the best way possible for the international community.
Thank you, Chair