UN atomic agency to visit Fukushima to review progress in clean up

VIENNA (AFP) - The United Nations atomic agency it is sending a team from October 14 to 21 to review Japan's progress cleaning up areas around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

The 16-person team, visiting at the request of Japan's government, consists of international experts and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) staff and follows an earlier visit in late 2011, it said on Friday.

"With the main purpose of evaluating the progress of ongoing remediation work in Japan and providing advice to address remediation challenges, the mission team will meet relevant governmental authorities, including the Ministry of the Environment," the IAEA said in a statement.

From October 16 to 18 it will visit remediation sites in Fukushima prefecture and on the last day of the mission will submit a report to the Japanese government, which will be made public.

The operator of Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has been beset with major problems since a massive earthquake and tsunami heavily damaged the plant in March 2011.

This week Tepco said that some 430 litres of highly radioactive cooling water had leaked out, possibly into the sea, two months after an earlier incident involving a different storage tank.