TOKYO (AP) – Objective and scientific monitoring is the key to releasing radioactive water left over from Japan’s devastated Fukushima nuclear plant, an official with the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

An IAEA panel is in Japan for preliminary consultations and to visit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was destroyed in 2011 by a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake.

The team is preparing to monitor the release of the water, a process that will likely take decades. The liquid was used to cool the plant’s reactors, but it leaked due to the disaster.

The government and the plant’s managing body, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, announced plans in April to release the water starting in spring 2023, so that the storage tanks could be removed and other equipment needed to be placed there. disable installation.

However, the plans have met resistance from local villagers and fishermen, as well as from China and South Korea.

Japan has requested the IAEA’s help to ensure that the water discharge meets the required safety standards and to gain understanding from the international community.

The head of the IAEA delegation in Japan, Lydie Evrard, reported that the commission and the Japanese government discussed ways to collect the necessary data and disseminate relevant information to affected communities, both in Japan and abroad. .