A total of 46 out of 47 municipalities in the prefecture subject to Fukushima nuclear disaster decontamination work responded to the Mainichi survey request, sent out in August this year. According to the results, as of the end of July, there were 859 temporary storage sites in 40 of the municipalities, holding some 3,194,688 cubic meters of radioactive soil and other contaminated waste from the disaster cleanup.
A government plan drawn up in October 2011 stated these sites would be closed in roughly three years. Accordingly, the central and local governments leased properties for many of the facilities for a three-year term. The leases for lands hosting 105 facilities storing 178,192 cubic meters of waste will reach their third year by the end of January 2015 -- shrinking storage capacity even as the volume of waste increases as decontamination work continues.
While the Fukushima governor in September agreed that the towns of Okuma and Futaba would host mid-term contaminated waste disposal sites, a timetable for moving the waste from the current temporary facilities to mid-term storage sites has not been set. The Environment Ministry has begun requesting land owners of 64 temporary facilities that are being managed directly by the national government to extend their contracts.
The town of Kawamata, whose nine interim storage sites will reach the three-year mark by January 2015, is set to demand that the national government remove the waste within the agreed time period. Meanwhile, the Kawauchi municipal government has asked the central government to take responsibility for any storage site lease extensions and explain the situation to residents.