SEOUL– South Korea called for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure that the radioactive water from Japan’s wrecked nuclear power plant is disposed transparently and safely, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Chung Kee-yong, director general for the ministry’s climate change, energy, environment and scientific affairs, made the call during video talks with IAEA Deputy Director-General Juan Carlo Lentijo, the ministry said.

“We asked for IAEA’s active role in ensuring transparency and verifying safety over the course of the treatment of the contaminated water by the Japanese government since it is a grave issue that affects the safety and environment of neighboring countries, including our country and the international community,” it said.

IAEA pledged efforts to ensure that all decisions and measures will be taken adequately, according to the ministry.

Tokyo appears set to gradually release into the Pacific Ocean more than 1.2 million tons of radioactive water stored in tanks since the 2011 meltdowns following an earthquake and tsunami.

Japan argues that it is the most realistic and relatively harmless disposal method, but the plan has sparked strong opposition and worries among the public in both Korea and Japan.

Source: Yonhap News Agency