By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will take active part in efforts by the U.N. nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify safety related to Japan's release of radioactive water into the sea, an official said Thursday.
Japan announced earlier this week it will start disposing of more than 1.2 million tons of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in two years. The plan has sparked strong protest from its neighboring nations, including China.
South Korea has expressed firm opposition to the plan, with President Moon Jae-in instructing officials on Wednesday to consider taking the issue to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in efforts to suspend or block the decision.
"There will be parts that we need to scrutinize and at the center of such efforts will be the IAEA," the official said. "It will be right for us to actively particiate in IAEA-led efforts to verify release plans for two years."
The IAEA "positively" views South Korea's demand that experts from the country should take part in verification efforts, the official said.
"We have repeatedly requested that we play a key and constructive role in ensuring safety under international standards, as a neighboring country, and of course, the IAEA regards our reasonable demand very positively," the official said.
The official reiterated that Seoul will continue to work with other concerned countries, especially coastal states in the Pacific, to address the issue at the international level, in efforts to call for Tokyo to change its stance to a "more forward-looking way."
"We hope that Japan will disclose more information (related to the release) with more transparency, so that it could convince our science field and our nuclear security commission that the disposal method does not pose risks to the safety of our people," the official said.
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