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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Fukushima governor sets 5 conditions for storing radioactive waste

 Radioactive waste from decontamination work is temporarily stored in a residential area in Koori, Fukushima Prefecture.

September 02, 2014

The Fukushima governor issued five conditions for accepting radioactive debris at a planned interim storage facility, including a law stipulating that the waste will be moved outside the prefecture within 30 years.

Governor Yuhei Sato’s demand for the legislation came at a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Sept. 1. During the talks, Sato conveyed the decision of the prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to accept construction of the storage facility.

“(Giving consent to the construction) will force the localities to bear an enormous burden, but we had to make a heart-wrenching decision to accept it in order to expedite rebuilding and the recovery of the environment,” Sato said.

Abe responded: “I am fully aware that it was a tough decision. We will work together and do our best to rebuild Fukushima Prefecture.”

With temporary storage areas already near capacity, decontamination operations and rebuilding efforts around the nuclear plant have stalled. Currently, radioactive debris is being stored at about 54,000 locations in the prefecture, including the backyards of homes, parking lots and parks.

But local residents are concerned that the new storage facility in Okuma and Futaba will end up being the final disposal site for the estimated 20 million cubic meters of debris, enough to fill 13 to 18 Tokyo Domes, generated from the cleanup process.

Earlier on Sept. 1, Sato informed Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto about the decision to accept construction of the storage facility during a meeting in the prefectural capital of Fukushima.

However, Sato stressed that building the storage facility and accepting the radioactive soil and other debris from decontamination operations are “separate” issues.

The central government plans to start the shipments in January.

The governor said a law must state that final disposal of the waste outside the prefecture will occur within 30 years after the start of shipments to the interim storage site.

The four other conditions for accepting shipments of the waste were: compiling a budget to provide 301 billion yen ($2.89 billion) in grants to the local governments; presenting detailed measures to maintain and manage the transportation routes and secure the safety of local communities along those routes; securing the safety of the interim storage facility and transportation of the waste; and reaching a safety agreement between the central government and the governments of Fukushima Prefecture, Okuma and Futaba over the storage.

Ishihara said the central government will take such requests seriously.

Source: Asahi Shimbun
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