Transfer of Fukushima clean-up waste gets go-ahead

03 March 2015

The transfer of radioactive soil and waste generated from clean-up work following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a provisional storage site has been approved by the governor of Fukushima prefecture and the mayors of Futaba and Okuma.

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.

Governor Masao Uchibori met with Shiro Izawa and Toshitsuna Watanabe - the mayors of the towns of Futaba and Okuma, respectively - on 24 February to discuss the construction of the facility. Both mayors indicated they would permit the transfer of contaminated soil to a provisional site, part of the planned interim facility. Watanabe was cited as saying, "It was a difficult decision to accept the transfer of waste to the site, but there is no alternative."

Following the meeting, Uchibori announced that he too accepted the transfer of the contaminated soil. He said, "The removed soil should be delivered to the site as soon as possible to accelerate the process of decontamination in the prefecture."

Uchibori met with environment minister Yoshio Mochizuki and minister for reconstruction Wataru Takeshita on 25 February to inform them of his decision.

The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum noted that, when agreeing to the construction of the interim facility last August, the prefecture considered building the facility and receiving waste as "separate things". The prefecture then presented the government with a list of five requests, including a legal commitment for the waste to be transferred from the interim storage facility to somewhere outside the prefecture for final disposal within 30 years, as well as the allocation of subsidies and the conclusion of safety agreements with local communities.

In January, 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.

The government plans to start deliveries of the radioactive soil and waste to the interim facility by 11 March.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News