| The South Korean government has decided to officially request that China and Japan exchange information when either of them is affected by a nuclear power plant accident that is categorized as the relatively low Level 2 under the standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"South Korea, Japan and China plan to discuss measures to strengthen their information exchange system at a time of a nuclear power plant accident during a three-way meeting to be held in Beijing in mid-November," said an official at Seoul`s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board on Friday. "We expect to have positive results, as Japan has announced a plan to expand its provision of information on such an accident."
The move came after a recent series of leakage of radiation-contaminated water used to cool down the damaged nuclear reactor at Japan`s Fukushima nuclear power plant. There have been controversies over Japan`s failure to notify its neighbors during the process of the leakages.
In particular, the three Northeast Asian countries will likely focus their discussions at the upcoming meeting on the International Energy Forum (IEF), which requires member countries to inform their neighbors of a Level 2 or a higher level of nuclear accident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale within 24 hours.
As Japan`s contaminated water leakages were Level 3 incidents, an agreement on the IEF system would require Japan to notify South Korea and China of additional leakages within a day via telephone or e-mail. Though the three countries shared a consensus on the notification system during a meeting in Seoul last year, they fail to reach a final agreement due to differences over some detailed issues. South Korea`s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has sent one of its experts to the Japanese embassy in Seoul to check the situation of the radiation contaminated water leakages.
"A team of IAEA inspectors will be sent to Japan next week at the earliest," said an official at the board. "If a South Korean expert gets included in the team, we expect to obtain more detailed information about the leakage situation in Japan and its potential impact on Korea."