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Despite £1 million just to listen , UK County Councillors not keen to host nuclear waste dump

Daily Post 22nd March 2019 , Any plans to find a site to store nuclear waste in Denbighshire will be strongly resisted despite an offer of £1 million just to listen to a government pitch for the plans. The UK government is searching for sites that will allow nuclear waste to be buried.

As part of the process county councils have been offered £1 million to listen to the government sales pitch for the scheme. If a council agrees to the start of work on taking in the waste they will be then given £2.5 million if authorities take part in
the planning stage. Denbighshire councillors will be presented with details of the scheme when they meet next week but already opposition councillors have said there is no way they would support such a move.


March 25, 2019 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump administration plans to cut spending on Hanford nuclear waste clean-up

Trump administration calls for sharp drop in Hanford nuclear reservation spending , Tri City Herald, BY ANNETTE CARY, 18 Mar 19,

-The Trump administration is proposing cutting Hanford nuclear reservation spending for fiscal 2020 by $416 million.

The nuclear reservation’s annual budget would drop from about $2.5 billion this fiscal year to $2.1 billion next year under the budget request submitted to Congress by the administration.

The biggest hit would be to the Richland Operations Office.
Its budget would drop by almost 25 percent. Current spending of about $954 million would drop by about $236 million to $718 million under the administration’s proposal.

The budget for the Office of River Protection would drop by almost 12 percent, or about $181 million. Spending would be reduced from almost $1.6 billion to about $1.4 billion.

Money proposed for the Office of River Protection included $715 million for the vitrification plant and $677 million for the tank farms.

A further breakdown of how the money is proposed to be spent on individual projects had not been released on Monday.

The Office of River Protection is responsible for 56 million gallons of radioactive waste in underground tanks and the $17 billion vitrification plant being built to treat much of the tank waste for disposal.

The Richland Operations Office is responsible for general operations of the site, including roads and utilities, and all other environmental cleanup, including polluted groundwater, unneeded buildings, old dump sites and contaminated soil.


The 580-square-mile site is contaminated from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

The administration proposes a spending amount for Hanford annually to Congress, which then sets the spending amount for the next fiscal year.

“Unfortunately, presidents on both sides of the aisle have proposed funding cuts that would slow down Hanford cleanup,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. “And just as I have worked before with my colleagues through the appropriations process to restore funding, I will do so again.”

The federal government created the waste at Hanford and has a moral and legal obligation to finish cleaning up the site, he said.

In 2018 Washington’s congressional delegation was able to increase the administration’s spending proposal for the current fiscal year by about $342 million more than proposed by the Trump administration.

The proposed spending cut comes as a new estimate of remaining cleanup at Hanford at least triples the estimated cost released three years ago.

The Lifecycle Scope, Schedule and Cost Report released at the end of January puts the remaining cleanup costs for Hanford at $323 billion under a best case scenario. At worst it could be $677 billion.

The estimate before the current one put the remaining costs as of 2016 at $108 billion.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Irish Council opposes dumping of UK’s nuclear waste in any part of Ireland

Councillors back motion to oppose dumping of nuclear waste, The Impartial Reporter, 18th March A motion to oppose the dumping of any toxic waste in any part of Ireland was passed unanimously by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, however it was not without some political wrangling between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

The motion proposed by Sinn Fein’s John Feely states the Council’s opposition who said that the “dumping of nuclear waste has dire consequences for our environment and also poses a serious health risk to the population”.

Councillor Feely said the geological screening for geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste raised a number of questions such as about how much radiation would reach the surface and water sources.

He added that the proposals by the British Government showed once again “the complete and total disregard” it has for the citizens of “Fermanagh and Omagh, the North of Ireland and all its people”.

Councillor Barry Doherty seconded the motion saying everybody had obligation to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the area in the same way that people do today and Ireland should not turn into anyone’s dumping ground……..

Councillor Alex Baird said the UUP were happy to support the motion with an amendment to stop anybody dumping toxic waste in Northern Ireland.

Councillors, Shields, McAnespy and Deehan all welcomed the motion, with Councillor Deehan describing the prospect of a disposal facility for nuclear waste in the country as “chilling”……..

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Ireland, politics international, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

SNC Lavalin, Holtec poised to cash in on the world’s massive nuclear de3commissioning, nuclear waste problems

The Energy Mix 10th March 2019 On the anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative
journalist Paul McKay reveals that the trade in radioactive waste is
becoming a lucrative opportunity for SNC-Lavalin and its U.S. partner.
If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then
Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec
International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very
lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes
until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and
That problem is pressing because the volume of spent reactor fuel is
cresting in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Japan.
There are also hundreds of intensively contaminated reactors which must
sooner or later be entombed, dismantled, chopped up by robots, then sent in
special, sealed containers to interim storage sites somewhere.
But no country in the world has yet found a proven, permanent solution for the 250
million kilograms of spent fuel now in limbo in storage pools and
canisters, let alone the atomic furnaces which created them. There are now
about 413 operable civilian reactors in 31 countries, and another 50 under
construction. Physics tells us precisely how “hot” atomic garbage is.
Every commercial power reactor—regardless of model, type, country, or
owner/operator—contains the radioactive equivalent of many atomic bombs
locked within its spent fuel, reactor core, pumps, valves, and extensive
cooling circuits.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump budget request for 77 lawyers for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project

Yucca Mountain budget request includes funds to hire 77 lawyers  By Gary Martin March 11, 2019 – 

WASHINGTON — A Trump administration request to revive the licensing process at  Yucca Mountain includes funds to hire 77 lawyers and staff for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to adjudicate “contentions” to the Energy Department’s application to build the facility in Nevada, officials said Monday.

The Trump administration blueprint for fiscal year 2020, which begins Oct. 1, includes $116 million for the Department of Energy and $38.5 million for NRC to restart the process that was stalled in 2010 when the Obama administration withdrew money to stop the legal proceedings.

Those requests are similar to Trump administration requests the past two budgets, which were rejected in the Senate.

Energy’s request for $116 million for nuclear waste storage includes reviving the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain application and funding an interim storage program. Details on the proposed spending are expected to be released next week…….

March 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Germany’s huge task in dismantling its nuclear power stations

Germany’s atomic phase-out: How to dismantle a nuclear power plant Mar 19, Germany now has just seven nuclear plants left in operation, but what becomes of those that are already decommissioned? Bits of them are recycled, and could ultimately end up in our kitchens.

When Egbert Bialk looks at the giant demolition robot perched on top of the cooling tower at the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant, it makes him happy.

“Happy that the eyesore is finally being dismantled,” he told DW. “Some said we should leave it standing as a memorial or piece of art. But for me the tower is like a symbol of humanity’s arrogance, of us playing with fire.”

Bialk began campaigning against the reactor when it was built near his home in the 1970s, and has since joined the local chapter of environmental group BUND to observe the 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) decommissioning of the facility.

The dismantling of the western German plant, which will take two decades to complete, started in 2004, seven years before the Fukushima disaster that prompted Angela Merkel’s government to announce the nation’s complete withdrawal from nuclear power by 2022.

With just a couple of years to go before that deadline, seven plants  are still in operation, and even after they’ve shut down for good, it will take many more years before all the country’s reactors have been safely dismantled, and contaminated sites cleared and deemed free of radiation

One of the most pressing questions during this lengthy process, is what to do with the radioactive waste?

Buried in mines

The first things to be removed are the heavily contaminated spent fuel rods, which contain the nuclear fuel that is converted into electrical power.

Because Germany doesn’t yet have a long-term depository for highly radioactive waste, the rods are currently stored in so-called Castor containers in several locations across the country.

By the time all the nation’s reactors have been decomissioned, there will be around 1,900 such containers in interim storage. And there they will remain until a suitable location for their permanent resting place has been found

Read more: Nuclear waste in disused German mine leaves a bitter legacy

“We expect the storage phase to take 50 years,” Monika Hotopp, spokeswoman of BGE told DW.

Exactly what it will all cost, is unknown. Much depends on the ultimate location, but the 4.2 billion euro preparations of a former iron ore mine known as pit Konrad to be used as the final depository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste could serve as some kind of indicator.

Once things like technical equipment and parts of buildings exposed to nuclear fission reaction for years, have been buried in the mine, it will be filled up with concrete and sealed.

“When sealed, it’s safe and there should be no danger of nuclear radiation for the environment,” Hotopp told DW.

Environmental groups however, warn that nuclear waste remains a threat even when buried deep under the ground.

“The depositories have to be able to contain radiation for up to 500,000 years,” local environmentalist Bialk told DW. “We are giving a time bomb to future generations.”

Building materials recycled into roads and pots

And what happens to the rest of the waste? The hundred of thousands of tons of metal, concrete, pipes and other building materials that accumulate during the dismantling process?

Because under German law, the entire plant, including offices and the canteen, are considered radioactive, no single item can be removed before operators can prove it is no longer contaminated. Once considered free of radiation or at least to be below the safety limit, the waste can be disposed of at regular landfills and recycling sites.

Environmental groups and locals criticize this practice, on the grounds that once materials have been recycled, nobody knows where they end up. Concrete from nuclear power plants could be used to pave our roads, while metals could be melted and turned into pots and pans.

“Melted metals could even be turned into braces for kids; they could be contaminated by radiation and no one would know,” he told DW. “I think it would be useful to track where the materials from nuclear sites end up.”

But experts don’t regard post-decommissioning monitoring as necessary.

“The risks are minimal,” Christian Küppers, who specializes in nuclear facility safety at the environmental research center Oeko-Institut, told DW. “The safety limits for radiation correspond to what we are naturally exposed to in the environment,”

All the material from nuclear power plants that expose radiation below 0.01 millisieverts per year can be recycled, Küppers continued.

By way of comparison, the Oeko- Institut says people are exposed to natural radiation of 2.1 millisieverts per year in Germany, and a one-way transatlantic flight exposes those on board to between 0.04 and 0.11 millisieverts of radiation.

From nuclear site to “greenfield”

Once the nuclear power plants have been completely dismantled, all the waste removed and when there is no longer any measurable trace of radiation, the premises can be returned to greenfield status.

At this point, the premises are considered to be regular industrial sites, and can be sold as such.

Likewise pit Konrad. Once the mine has been closed and sealed, which is expected to happens around the year 2100, the land on top of it will also be returned to greenfield space. Theoretically, houses could then be built on it.

Whether anybody would want to live there, is another question, says Monika Hotopp from BGE, the federal company in charge of the long-term storage sites.

Because ultimately, nuclear power has become synonymous with danger. And as Bialk puts it, even when all the  plants have been dismantled and the waste stored, the problem won’t have gone away.

“First, the radioactive waste remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. Second, other countries still rely on nuclear power,” he said. “There are more than 50 nuclear power plants in France alone, and if an accident were to happen there, it would affect us, too.”

March 12, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Bay of Biscay graveyard of nuclear-armed Russian submarine

CTY Pisces – Photos of a Japanese midget submarine that was sunk off Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. There’s a hole at the base of the conning tower where an artillery shell penetrated the hull, sinking the sub and killing the crew. Photos courtesy of Terry Kerby, Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. August 2003.

15,000 Feet Below the Waves Lurks Trouble: This Dead Russian Submarine Is Nuclear Armed    “Unfortunately, the loss of power onboard and the difficult weather conditions were too much for the crew to overcome. On April 12, K-8 sank with some forty crew members aboard, coming to rest at a rough depth of 15,000 feet. The depth made any effort at recovering the submarine, and the nuclear torpedoes, impractical.”   National Interest,   by Robert Farley, 10 Mar 19

n April 8, K-8 suffered two fires, resulting in a shutdown of both nuclear reactors. The boat surfaced, and Captain Vsevolod Borisovich Bessonov ordered the crew to abandon ship. Eight crew members, trapped in compartments that were either flooded or burned out, died in the initial incident. Fortunately, a Soviet repair vessel arrived, and took K-8 under tow. However, bad weather made the recover operation a difficult prospect. Much of K-8’s crew reboarded the submarine, and for three days fought a life-and-death struggle to save the boat. Although details remain scarce, there apparently was no opportunity to safely remove the four nuclear torpedoes from K-8, and transfer them to the repair ship.

The Bay of Biscay is one of the world’s great submarine graveyards. In late World War II, British and American aircraft sank nearly seventy German U-boats in the Bay, which joined a handful of Allied and German subs sunk in the region during World War I. On April 12, 1970, a Soviet submarine found the same resting place. Unlike the others, however, K-8 was propelled by two nuclear reactors, and carried four torpedoes tipped by nuclear warheads………

March 10, 2019 Posted by | France, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France facing the burden of nuclear waste

Le Monde 8th March 2019 France facing the burden of nuclear waste. In the Aube, two storage centers
receive 90% of the radioactive residues produced each year in France. One
approach to saturation, and for some waste there is still no solution.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | France, wastes | Leave a comment

Act introduced to U.S. Congress- would stop Federal Govt from imposing a nuclear waste dump on any State

Act would give states voice on nuclear waste dumps, Las Vegas Sun,  March 5, 2019  The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act would require approval of the governor and impacted local governments and tribes before any money could be spent on a nuclear waste repository from the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. The act would be applicable to all states.

The act was introduced by most of the Nevada delegation, including U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and U.S. Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, all Democrats.

Members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are attempting to ensure states have a voice in the construction of nuclear waste repositories.

Nevada is home to the dormant Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.

Titus, who has introduced a similar bill multiple times in the past, said the federal government should not force a waste site on any community.

“The Trump Administration’s attempt to treat our state as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste is based on dirty politics, not sound science. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon them. I’m reintroducing this legislation as part of our strategy to put an end to the Yucca Mountain project once and for all,” she said in a statement…….

Lee, Horsford and Titus characterized Yucca Mountain as a push to turn Nevada into the nation’s dumping ground.

“I refuse to sit by and watch my community be used as a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” Horsford said in a statement. “Yucca Mountain is an ongoing threat to the safety of Nevada families and to the Silver State’s $40 billion tourism industry.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

No way to get rid of spent nuclear fuel (but they still keep making it anyway!)

U.S. still has no place for spent nuclear fuel, so Maine Yankee’s owner gets millions

The award will help pay for the roughly $10 million per year to maintain the repository at the closed nuclear plant in Wiscasset. PressHerald,  BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER 3 Mar 19, For the fourth time since 1998, a federal judge has awarded the owners of three closed nuclear power plants, including Maine Yankee, millions of dollars for the federal government’s failure to remove spent nuclear fuel.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | 2 Comments

It was easy enough to build U.S army’s nuclear stations – but difficult to get rid of them

Kerr: Army planning to demolish Fort Belvoir’s nuclear plant Inside Nova, BY DAVID KERR 3 Mar 19″……

Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 nuclear power plant in 1957.  The plant was in operation for 16 years. It was shut down in 1973 and its nuclear core was removed.  …..

The Army built another working nuclear plant at Fort Greely in Alaska that at the time was serving as an interceptor missile launch site. They also built one on a Liberty Ship called the U.S.S. Sturgis.  That plant, built at Fort Belvoir, in Gunston Cove, was used as a floating power source for facilities in the Panama Canal Zone.

There was also one at the South Pole’s McMurdo Station.  It ran for almost 12 years. Alas, all of these sites ran up against two problems.  First, they turned out to be more expensive to operate than expected. Secondly, by the early 1970s anxiety was growing over nuclear power.  Was it such a good idea to have small nuclear plants? It didn’t sound safe.

The Army built another working nuclear plant at Fort Greely in Alaska that at the time was serving as an interceptor missile launch site. They also built one on a Liberty Ship called the U.S.S. Sturgis.  That plant, built at Fort Belvoir, in Gunston Cove, was used as a floating power source for facilities in the Panama Canal Zone.

There was also one at the South Pole’s McMurdo Station.  It ran for almost 12 years. Alas, all of these sites ran up against two problems.  First, they turned out to be more expensive to operate than expected. Secondly, by the early 1970s anxiety was growing over nuclear power.  Was it such a good idea to have small nuclear plants? It didn’t sound safe.

As for the South Pole nuclear facility, unlike its counterparts in the U.S., that was demolished almost immediately.  Roughly 12,000 pounds of radioactive material were shipped to a secure nuclear waste site in the United States.

Just how safe this procedure was, given the site’s remoteness and the absence of guidelines for handling radioactive debris at the time, remains an open question.

As for the SM-1, when the core was removed, Army engineers decontaminated the underground liquid radioactive waste tanks and filled them with concrete.  They then sealed the reactor dome, removed the underground piping, tore down some uncontaminated structures and began a decades-long effort to monitor and continually assess the site.

They did the same at Fort Greely.

Now, the facilities are getting old and since they’re still radioactive, the Army wants to go ahead and demolish these facilities. But this is not your average construction contract or your average hazardous waste management project. These are nuclear facilities; everything about them has special requirements.  …….

The SM-1 and its sister facilities were a part of our country’s early commitment to nuclear power and all that it might accomplish.  Our nuclear industry learned a lot from their operations. However, while they were relatively easy to build, it’s turned out to be a lot more difficult to get rid of them than anyone ever would have imagined in the 1950s.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

New report highlights the inability of USA to deal with nuclear waste

March 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s Radioactive Waste Management cancels nuclear waste meeting in Swansea – opts for webinar instead

Nuclear waste meeting in Swansea is cancelled and replaced with an online event Wales Online, By Robert DallingSenior Reporter 1 MAR 2019

It was one of a series of meetings taking place across the country to discuss where to bury the country’s most dangerous radioactive waste.

The organisation that had planned a meeting in Swansea about where to store nuclear waste has cancelled it, and said it’s staging an online event instead.

Government-run Radioactive Waste Management was behind the meetings in Swansea and Llandudno to discuss where to create a geological disposal facility for burying the UK’s stockpile of the most dangerous radioactive waste.

No details of any potential sites were made public and it was understood that the body was seeking “a willing host community” where radioactive waste could be stored hundreds of metres underground.

The Swansea meeting was planned for Tuesday, March 1

A statement from the firm read: “Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) respects the views expressed by Swansea Council in their proposed motion (for consideration on 28 February) about hosting a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in their area.

“RWM also reaffirms that none of its regional events, including the one for Swansea , is linked in any way to where a GDF might be sited and no site anywhere in England or Wales has been targeted, proposed or chosen.  A GDF can only be sited in Wales if a community is willing to host it…….

It is expected that the process of selecting an underground site and going through the planning and construction process will take decades with any chosen site first receiving waste in the 2040s.

The Government said communities interested in hosting a GDF could receive up to £1m a year initially and up to £2.5m a year if deep borehole investigations took place.

Swansea Lib Dem councillor Peter Black criticised the move to cancel the physical meeting.

He said: “I think we should have met them face to face so as to get some clarity as to what exactly they were proposing.

“A webinar means that many people who might want to contribute to this debate, who are not on the internet, will now be excluded.”

Leader of Swansea Council, Rob Stewart said: “I’m pleased that RWM has listened to the very strong representations that we have made and cancelled this meeting in Swansea.

“We note that they have replaced it with an online event so I will make it clear that we will not let up on in our fight until the Swansea Bay area is ruled-out as a potential location for a dump for radioactive waste.

“The reaction of most councillors, our local residents and businesses is clear – nuclear waste is not and never will be welcome here and we will not allow it.”

March 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Demolition of Sellafield nuclear chimney under way, 28 February 2019 

Work has begun to dismantle a giant chimney at the scene of Britain’s worst nuclear accident.

The first blocks of concrete have been removed from the 360ft (110m) structure, which has towered above what is now Sellafield for almost 70 years.

Workers using a specially-built 500ft (152m) crane are cutting out six-tonne concrete slabs with diamond wire saws.

In 1957 the chimney captured radioactive dust after a fire at the then Windscale nuclear reactor.

The first section of the Windscale Pile One chimney to go is the square-shaped “diffuser” at the top – mockingly referred to as “Cockroft’s Folly” after designer Sir John Cockroft – which will disappear by 2022.

Stuart Latham, head of remediation at Sellafield Ltd, said: “This is a huge step in our clean-up mission at Sellafield, so everyone is incredibly proud to see the first blocks safely removed.

“Not only does it reduce the risk associated with this historic, redundant stack, but it will also change the Sellafield skyline forever.”

Because buildings containing nuclear material surround the stack, traditional demolition techniques like explosives cannot be used.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is overseeing work at the site, which is due to be fully decommissioned in 2120 at a cost of more than £70bn.

March 2, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s mountains of radioactive soil – community opposition to recycling it

Fierce opposition to recycling radioactive soil from Fukushima, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, February 26, 2019 How to dispose of mountains of soil contaminated by radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster poses a massive headache for the central government.

Officials had long insisted that contaminated surface soil removed after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would eventually be stored outside of Fukushima Prefecture.

According to one estimate, the total volume of such soil will reach 14 million cubic meters by fiscal 2021. Local entities outside of Fukushima are understandably hesitant about serving as host to such vast quantities of possibly hazardous dirt.

Officials in Tokyo are now hoping to sway local governments to act as hosts by proposing reuse of the contaminated soil for public works projects under certain conditions.

One requirement would be that soil radiation levels below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, the standard used by the government in classifying whether the waste material requires special treatment, could be used for various construction projects.

This poses a dilemma for Fukushima Prefecture, which fears local residents will be stuck with the problem despite repeated pledges by the government to move all contaminated soil from the prefecture.

Work got under way four years ago to move contaminated soil to intermediate storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture. As of Feb. 19, the volume of soil transported to those facilities totaled 2.35 million cubic meters.

Initially, the government set a target date of March 2045 for moving all of the contaminated soil outside of Fukushima to a permanent storage facility.

However, discussions have yet to begin on where to build the structure.

Koji Yamada, an Environment Ministry official who has been involved in the issue, conceded it will not be easy to find a candidate municipality for the facility.

“We are now at the stage of trying to obtain understanding from a national perspective,” he said.

Ministry officials say that reusing contaminated soil to reduce the volume that eventually will have to be moved to the final storage facility could win favor from some municipalities.

A panel of experts set up by the Environment Ministry agreed in June 2016 that moving the entire volume of contaminated soil to a final storage facility is unrealistic.

The panel suggested that reducing the volume of contaminated soil by reusing portions deemed safe under radiation standards now in place seemed to offer the best option in finding a candidate site for the final storage facility.

It also proposed ways in which the soil could be reused; for example, in public works projects where the commissioning authority was clearly a responsible body.

The panel also proposed using the soil for the foundations of roads and embankments. It said sufficient quantities were available to ensure stable maintenance over many years.

When the panel met again last December, the members were briefed on the best-case scenario for the development of technology to reduce radiation levels in the soil. The most optimistic forecast was that as much as 99 percent of the debris could eventually be reused.

Under that scenario, only 30,000 cubic meters, or about 0.2 percent of the total volume, would have to be moved to the final storage facility to be buried there.

While Environment Ministry officials say that reusable treated soil would be considered for locations both within and outside Fukushima Prefecture, the only specific proposals made to date have been limited to three municipalities in Fukushima.

Local residents in two of those municipalities, one of which is Nihonmatsu, have mounted petition drives and other activities to block the reuse of contaminated soil in their areas. They contend that allowing such plans to go ahead would be at odds with government promises to store the soil outside of the prefecture.

The fact remains that the bulk of the contaminated soil is stored in Fukushima Prefecture. However, seven other prefectures also have a combined 330,000 cubic meters stored at various locations, such as parks and farmland.

Since August 2018, the Environment Ministry has been trying to determine whether using contaminated soil for land reclamation projects would prove detrimental to the health of local residents.

It has conducted field trials in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, and on the grounds of a facility operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture.

But Nasu resident Masato Tashiro, who has been following the issue, was highly critical of the six-month period authorized to confirm the safety of such soil.

“That is way too short to make such a judgment, considering the fact the soil will be buried for such a long time,” Tashiro said. “Residents fear their health may be impaired over the long-term.”

(This article was written by Teru Okumura and Shintaro Egawa.)

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment