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Japan to finish radioactive soil transfer to interim storage site

“Finished” is only government propaganda, reality differs!
With radioactive waste being kept “temporarily” at 830 locations in six municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, stuck in limbo with no early prospect of being shipped to interim storage facilities ahead of a government-set deadline. The volume of contaminated soil and other radioactive materials awaiting shipment totals 8,460 cubic meters.

The interim storage site for radioactive waste and the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

Mar 13, 2022

Fukushima – The government is set to complete by March 31 work on transferring radioactive soil collected from areas polluted by the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture to an interim storage facility as part of the decontamination effort.

The facility, straddling the Fukushima towns of Futaba and Okuma, surrounds Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the triple meltdown that followed a massive earthquake and tsunami 11 years ago.

Under the law, such soil will be transferred to a permanent disposal site outside the prefecture by 2045. The final site has yet to be decided, however.

Since the amount of soil is massive, the Environment Ministry is planning to use some of it for public works and other projects across the country.

“We’ll reach a major juncture” by completing the transfer, a senior ministry official said. “From now on, we’d like to foster people’s understanding on the reuse (of the soil).”

The 1,600-hectare interim storage site, about the same size as Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, is slated to hold about 14 million cubic meters of soil collected through decontamination work.

Since 2015, such soil collected from around Fukushima has been taken to the site after being stored at temporary storage facilities.

Over 1,800 local landowners, including residents of the towns, cooperated with the central government to secure land to establish the storage facility, mainly by selling their properties to the state.

Many landowners “made tough decisions to give up their properties for the sake of reconstruction,” Okuma Mayor Jun Yoshida said. “Many were my acquaintances, including friends from school, the person who arranged my marriage and workers at the town office,” Yoshida added.

The ministry plans to use only soil with relatively low levels of radioactive concentrations for public works, farmland and other purposes. It hopes that three-fourths of the total will be reused.

A demonstration project to grow flowers and vegetables on farmland using such soil has already started in the Nagadoro district in the Fukushima village of Iitate.

Meanwhile, projects to utilize the soil for road construction have been scrapped due to opposition from local residents in the cities of Nihonmatsu and Minamisoma, both in Fukushima Prefecture.

In May last year, the ministry started holding meetings to discuss the recycling of such soil with the general public to win wider understanding. Such events took place in Tokyo and the city of Nagoya.

The next session is scheduled to be held in the city of Fukuoka this month.

Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa stressed that electricity generated by the Fukushima No. 1 plant had been consumed in the greater Tokyo area. Reuse of soil collected through decontamination work “will not proceed unless people who benefited (from the Fukushima plant) understand that fact,” he said.

“It is difficult for people living far from Fukushima to empathize” with those having to deal with tainted soil, said Hiroshi Kainuma, associate professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies.

Kainuma said the government should proceed while checking constantly whether its communication with the public on the issue is appropriate.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/03/13/national/japan-finish-radioactive-soil-transfer-interim-storage-site/

March 14, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , ,

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