S. Korea expands water testing amid worries about Japan’s nuclear waste

outh Korea will expand the number of spots for water testing amid concerns over the release of nuclear waste from Japan’s crippled Fukushima power plant.

Seoul plans to raise the number of testing spots to nearly 250 next year, said South Korean Oceans Minister Cho Seung-hwan.

About a month ahead of Tokyo’s release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima plant in August, South Korea had begun “emergency radiation tests on samples from a total of 75 coastal locations in the east, west and south of South Korea, as well as the waters off the southern island of Jeju,” Seoul-based Yonhap News reported on Monday.

“We chose the spots, as they are expected to have the released waters first given the sea current. We will add more locations to the list, particularly in the East Sea, to further ensure safety,” said Cho, after visiting a test spot off the southern port city of Busan last week.

Seoul is also conducting radiation tests on 33 points from more distant areas, the minister said.

“We will maintain the emergency testing system until the people are no longer worried about the issue and say no more tests are required,” he added.

However, Cho said: “All the samples have met the safety standards so far, and no radiation has been detected in domestic seafood or imported marine products.”

Tokyo began releasing the nuclear waste on Aug. 24, triggering a sharp reaction from China and opposition parties in South Korea.

Beijing has imposed a blanket ban on imports of seafood from Japan.

Today, the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo refuted claims that Beijing had “refused to join” the International Atomic Energy Agency’s international monitoring mechanism.

Early this month, Seoul warned it will take Japan to the UN if Tokyo does not follow its original plan about releasing the treated radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The warning came after Seoul called for a discussion on the potential impacts on the marine environment while Japan ignored the call.

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