The Chinese customs authority has announced a ban on food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures and strict monitoring of food imports from the rest of Japan. The measure is attributed to safety concerns surrounding Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea. The customs authority aims to prevent radioactively contaminated food from reaching China.
According to the customs authority, the documentation for imported food will undergo strict checks, and there are plans to strengthen inspections of imported food by 100 percent. The decision is prompted by worries over the potential risks associated with the release of water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, Rafael Grossi, approved Japan’s plan for water disposal, stating that it meets international safety standards. However, China criticized the IAEA report, expressing its concerns.
Japan’s nuclear regulatory authority approved the water disposal plan on Friday. The exact date for the disposal has not been announced, but the Japanese government intends to carry it out during the summer. The plan involves filtering the water to remove 62 nuclides while excluding the radioactive isotope tritium.
The Japanese electric utility responsible for the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Tepco, plans to dilute the water to a concentration of around 1,500 becquerels per liter, which is less than a 40th of the national safety standard. Japan’s threshold for tritium release is stricter than that of other countries, including China and South Korea.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered core meltdowns in 2011 due to an earthquake and tsunami. The plant’s destroyed reactors still require cooling with water stored in large tanks. The plan is to filter the water and dispose of it in diluted form through a tunnel into the sea.
The South Korean government expects little impact from the water discharge and has conducted independent investigations confirming that radiation exposure will be extremely low. South Korea considers Japan’s plans to be in line with global standards, including those of the IAEA.