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Seoul, Tokyo officials to discuss measures on radiation danger

Nuclear experts from South Korea and Japan will meet in Tokyo Tuesday to discuss countermeasures for the radiation leaks from a crippled nuclear plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan, officials here said.

Concerns have been growing here since Japan discharged some 11,000 tons of radiation contaminated water into the ocean after using it to cool off reactors in its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant without first notifying neighboring countries.

Despite Tokyo’s assurance that it is closely monitoring the contamination level and possible environmental effects in nearby regions, continued concerns and criticisms pushed Japan to propose the consultations with Seoul. It will be the first time for experts from the two sides to meet over the issue.

During the two-day meeting through Wednesday, the neighboring nations will discuss how to accurately monitor radiation levels in air and food, as well as manage overall nuclear safety. South Korea will be sending a six-member delegation, comprised of officials from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety and the science ministry, an official at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said on the condition of customary anonymity.

Seoul may ask that joint research be conducted in the region and further consultations based on the results of the meeting, the official added.

The results of the Seoul-Tokyo consultation are also expected to become the basis of trilateral nuclear safety negotiations including China next month. The three countries may seek a deal during their May summit to tighten cooperation on nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima plant disaster, Foreign Ministry officials here said earlier this month.

South Korea and Japan are expected to disclose the results of their meeting to the media on Wednesday.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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