China Joins IAEA Survey Over Fukushima Water

    China Joins IAEA Survey Over Fukushima Water
    Photo: Pallava Bagla/Corbis [via Getty Images]

    The Facts

    • On Thursday, China joined an IAEA-led radiation examination of fish that had been unloaded at a port in Japan's Fukushima.

    • Previously, the Chinese foreign ministry had mooted the IAEA's role in monitoring water discharge from the country's Fukushima nuclear plant, which was compromised by a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Japan is treating the ocean as its private sewer. Besides the fact that UN human rights experts, alongside environmentalists, have opposed the plan to release the contaminated water, public opinion in Japan is deeply averse to the idea. There isn't enough scientific understanding or technological capability to ensure this move would be harmless.

    Narrative B

    The system Japan has used to treat the water in Fukushima leaves only tritium, which emits extremely weak radiation and doesn't impact the environment. Yet, China has been running a smear campaign against Japan and its fisheries products. The IAEA's latest tests will only back Japanese assurances to the world and, therefore, China must roll back its rhetoric.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 27% chance that there will be a major nuclear accident before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter