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34,200 tons of radioactive sewage sludge kept in Kanto area 12 yrs after Fukushima disaster.

April 10, 2023 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO — A total of some 34,200 metric tons of sewage sludge contaminated with radioactive substances emanating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is still kept in temporary storage by major local bodies in the Kanto region, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The massive tainted waste — a year’s worth of ordinary burned sludge ash generated in Tokyo’s 23 wards — has partially been kept as incinerated ash. Due to difficulties in obtaining local understanding for landfill disposal of radioactive waste in harbors, forests and mountains, some of the waste has nowhere to go even 12 years on since the onset of the disaster.

The finding came after the Mainichi queried major local governments in five prefectures in the Kanto region and other sources about radioactively contaminated sewage sludge accumulated in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station meltdown.

In May 2011, two months after the disaster, radioactive cesium was detected in the sewage sludge in Fukushima Prefecture. This prompted inspections of sewage in other local bodies in the Kanto region, and authorities took measures, such as keeping highly contaminated sludge within their local sewage facilities.

Of these, the Mainichi Shimbun interviewed 15 local bodies — Tokyo and six other Kanto region prefectures, their capital cities, and government-designated major cities in the region — between December 2022 and March 2023, regarding the status of their treatment of sewage sludge in which radioactive substances were detected.

It emerged that the Yokohama Municipal Government, south of Tokyo, had kept approximately 26,600 tons of radioactively contaminated waste within its sewage facilities as incinerated sludge ash as of the end of February 2023, while the Kawasaki Municipal Government, also in Kanagawa Prefecture, had kept 3,435 tons of such waste inside its port areas in the same form…………………………………………..

In the Kanto region alone, a total of some 4,180 tons of radioactive sewage requiring the central government’s treatment remains in Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, according to the Ministry of the Environment and other sources. The national government plans to place this waste under long-term management by setting up treatment facilities in state-owned forests and other sites in accordance with the special measures law on radioactive contamination response. However, the plan remains up in the air as the candidate sites have not been finalized due to protests from local residents and other factors.

Meanwhile, Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures responded to the survey that they have finished disposing of all radioactive sewage sludge under their control. The cities of Mito, Saitama and Chiba also answered the same. Based on the peak amount of radioactive sludge kept by these local bodies, it is estimated that they had disposed of at least some 120,000 tons of such waste.

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Igarashi and Kaoru Watanabe, Tokyo Regional News Department)

April 14, 2023 - Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes

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