By Pita Ligaiula in Seoul
Forum chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister says he is expecting a report by end of June from an independent panel of global experts on nuclear issues in their consultations with Japan over its intentions to discharge treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.
Pacific nations are relying on the panel to provide independent technical advice into the ongoing dialogue with Japanese officials and representatives of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima where the wastewater has accumulated since the 2011 tsunami.
Japan had announced its intentions to commence discharge into the Pacific Ocean this year.
PM Brown confirmed the issue was not discussed at the Korea – Pacific Islands Summit that ended on Monday.
“Not this summit, the Pacific’s concerns were delivered by me earlier this year in February directly to the Prime Minister of Japan, about their intention to release treated nuclear waste water in the Pacific.
“Those concerns were well received by the Prime Minister of Japan. And as a result, our Pacific Islands Forum scientific team is working in close collaboration with the Japanese team, with oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)to provide us with assurances that whatever is going to be done, whether the water will be discharged that it will be safe to discharge and will not harm the marine environment,” said Brown.
He said that process of dialogue between the scientific panels and Japan is being undertaken.
“We expect a report to be provided by the end of June, at which time we will know what the next steps will be.
“Japan assured the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) that it will not discharge anything into the Pacific Ocean if it will harm biodiversity or the marine life in the ocean.
“I stand with the prime minister in the comments he made. But we’ll wait for the scientific verification from the independent scientists,” said PM Brown.
PM Brown said is not aware of what South Korea is doing in terms of studies on treated nuclear waste water in Fukushima.
“I’m not sure what the level of engagement is the Korean scientists on this particular matter. All I know is that from our perspective, we have our engagement with the Japanese government and those are the results that we wait for,” said PM Brown.