IAEA, Fukushima Prefecture sign agreement to cooperate on decontamination, radiation monitoring

Kyodo

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Fukushima Prefectural Government agreed Saturday to closely cooperate on decontamination and radiation monitoring in view of last year’s nuclear crisis.

Several projects are planned under the accord, including the dispatch of IAEA missions to provide technical advice on the process of cleaning land contaminated with radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station, as well as on managing and processing waste generated during decontamination work, officials from the central government said.

The IAEA will also assist Fukushima Medical University in conducting health management surveys and in organizing events to enhance public awareness of the effects of radiation on human health, as well as posttraumatic stress disorder, among the prefecture’s residents.

“The IAEA can be of help to Fukushima because it has accumulated expertise on decontamination, environmental monitoring and health monitoring,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said at the signing ceremony, alongside Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog also said the experience that the IAEA will gain through these projects will also benefit other countries around the world.

Sato, for his part, said the IAEA’s support is “very encouraging,” adding he believes the agreement will accelerate the prefecture’s efforts to recover from Japan’s worst nuclear calamity.

The IAEA also intends to conduct training in Fukushima Prefecture for national and international participants to boost emergency readiness and response capacity, while planning to store radiological monitoring equipment in the prefecture for use in the event of nuclear catastrophes in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ceremony was held on the sidelines of the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, a high-level global gathering organized by the Japanese government and the IAEA in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.