Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Is it safe to release water from the Fukushima nuclear plant? The UN says yes. This is News Review from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil. And I'm Beth. Make sure you watch to the end to learn vocabulary you need to talk about this story. Don't forget to subscribe to our channel, like this video and try the quiz on our website. Now, the story. Fukushima. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl back in the 1980s. Now, the UN says it's safe for Japan to start releasing waste water from the plant into the ocean. A tsunami flooded the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011, causing a radiation leak. China and South Korea have opposed the plan. You've been looking at headlines, Beth. What's the vocabulary? We have watchdog, greenlighting and refute. This is News Review from BBC Learning English. Let's have a look at our first headline. This is from the BBC: Fukushima nuclear disaster: UN watchdog approves plan for water release So, this headline explains that a part of the UN has decided that it's now safe to start releasing water from the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The word that we are going to look at is 'watchdog'. Can you break that down, please? Yes. So 'watchdog' has two parts that you recognize, 'watch' and 'dog'. Now in its literal meaning, a watchdog is a specially trained dog that watches over something. It's like a guard. OK. That's a clear explanation of the word. But why is 'watchdog' being used here in this story? It's not about animals. It's not. But the word 'watchdog' is very often used in a non-literal way, although it does carry a similar sense to the original meaning. So, a watchdog is an organisation that makes sure other organisations are behaving properly. Yeah. So this UN watchdog is there to make sure that nuclear safety standards are met. And we see this word 'watchdog' used often in connection to finance as well. A financial watchdog is there to make sure that banks behave properly. Let's look at that again. Let's have our next headline. This is from The Korea Herald: IAEA chief to visit Korea after greenlighting Japan wastewater discharge So, the IAEA, that's the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is a watchdog, is going to visit Korea now that this decision about the Fukushima nuclear plant releasing water has been made. The vocabulary that we are interested in from this headline, though, is greenlighting. Now, Beth, you like driving, don't you? I do, and I especially like it when the roads are clear. There is nothing to stop me so I prefer green lights to red lights because green lights mean 'go'. And that is key to understanding 'greenlighting', isn't it? Yes, so, 'greenlighting' is the metaphorical act of showing someone, or something, a green light, meaning that it is allowed to happen. Just like when you're driving your car, you see the green light, it means you are allowed to go. And in the headline we have 'greenlighting', but you can also 'give something the green light', and this is often used when asking for official permission to do something. Yeah. So, for example, you might want to do some home improvements, but you need permission from the local council. You have to wait for them to give your plans the green light, or to green light your plans. Let's look at that again. Let's have our next headline. This is from The Japan News: Japan Must Use Scientific Evidence to Refute Disinformation The headline says that Japan must use scientific evidence to stop people suggesting that this decision about water and Fukushima is dangerous. They describe it as disinformation, which means false information, often spread for a particular reason. The word we're interested in though, is the verb 'refute'. Yes. And it's clear from the context of this headline that refute is connected to proving that something is wrong. If you refute something, you strongly say that a person or an opinion is not right - it's wrong. But 'refute', this is quite a formal word, isn't it, Neil? It is, yes. We often hear 'refute' in official contexts, legal language, academic writing and debate. If we wanted to talk about something less official, less formal, we probably wouldn't use the word 'refute'. For example, if you said to me, "Harry Styles is the greatest singer of all time," I don't agree, but I don't use the word 'refute' there. No, that kind of conversation is definitely too informal for the word 'refute'. You'd probably just say 'that's rubbish' or 'you're talking nonsense'. Although Harry Styles is quite good. Yeah, he is quite good. Let's look at that again. We've had watchdog – group that makes sure another organisation acts correctly. Greenlighting – giving permission. And refute – say something is wrong. Now to learn more about nuclear power and to find out just how green it is, click here for an episode of 6-Minute English. And click here to subscribe to our channel so you never miss another video. Thanks for joining us. Bye.