Storage of Fukushima clean-up waste to start

19 January 2015

The interim storage of contaminated soil and other wastes generated by decontamination efforts at Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant and surrounding area will begin in March, the environment ministry has said.

In August 2014, the then governor of Fukushima Prefecture Yuhei Sato approved a central government plan to construct an interim storage facility on land on the border between the neighbouring towns of Futaba and Okuma. Authorities in Okuma gave their consent to the plan in December.

On 13 January, Futaba mayor Shiro Izawa said that the town now also accepts the construction of the waste facility. He was cited by the Jiji news agency as saying, "We cannot move forward toward reconstruction unless we make a tough decision."

The following day, the Japanese government allotted JPY 75.8 billion ($645 million) for the construction of temporary storage facilities for waste from clean-up activities in Fukushima Prefecture. This figure includes JPY 4.4 billion ($37 million) for land purchases, JPY 70.7 billion ($601 million) for construction and JPY 700 million ($6 million) for research.

Environment minister Yoshio Mochizuki said in a 16 January statement, "In order to proceed with the decontamination and reconstruction of Fukushima, it is essential to develop interim storage facilities to safely and intensively manage soil and waste generated by decontamination."

The government has said that waste would be stored at the facility for up to 30 years, after which it would be transported to planned disposal facilities.

Of the 150,000 residents who evacuated the area around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, some 72,800 lived in the towns and villages of Futaba district. Being close to the nuclear power plant, Futaba district was heavily dependent economically on the plant, with much of its industry geared towards the power sector.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News