Taiwan to expand tests after Tokyo decides to dump radioactive water

Taipei-Taiwan's government on Wednesday said it will expand existing radiation-level tests on fish caught near the country, a day after Japan said it plans to release treated radioactive water from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years time.

At a cross-ministerial meeting, Fisheries Agency Director-General Chang Chih-sheng (???) said government agencies have worked together to monitor food safety since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in March 2011.

Since then, the cesium-134 and cesium-137 levels in fish caught in waters near Taiwan and the northwestern Pacific Ocean have been randomly tested to determine their radiation-level, Chang said.

As of March 31, the agency had collected 2,212 samples, including 1,652 near-shore fish, and 560 open-sea fish, all of which met existing standards, he said.

In preparation for Japan's scheduled release of treated radioactive water in two years time, Chang said government agencies will soon expand existing tests on aquatic products and increase sample sizes.

As a result, the number of fish samples tested will increase from the current 208 annually to 500 per year.

The number of fish sample monitoring sites across the country will also be expanded from 20 at present to 62, with tests conducted all year round instead of only in summer and winter as now, according to Chang.

Speaking at the same meeting, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (???) said Taiwan's government will seek Japanese government compensation if the latter's decision to release treated wastewater into the ocean is later proved to have negatively impacted the nation's fisheries industry.

Chang and Chen made the comments during the meeting, which was held in response to Tokyo's announcement on Tuesday that it has decided to release treated wastewater into the ocean, but not for another two years.

The treated water will contain radioactive tritium, a byproduct of nuclear reactors, and could have an adverse impact on human health through the consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish if discharged into the sea, environmental groups have argued.

Earlier Wednesday, Taiwan's government expressed opposition to Japan's "unilateral decision" before a proper evaluation is conducted.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel