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Recycling decontaminated soil from the nuclear power plant accident is “no one’s business” Residents of Shinjuku, which has an unexpected connection with TEPCO, have stood up to stand up for the issue

Gen Hirai (second from right) and others protest the demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil in Kabukicho, Tokyo, on December 12.

January 13, 2023
One month has passed since the announcement of a demonstration project to reuse so-called “decontaminated soil” collected during decontamination work after the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Tokyo metropolitan area. People who live near Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo), one of the planned sites, have joined forces and established a group to oppose the reuse of the soil. Shinjuku has an unexpected connection with TEPCO. What do the locals think? Can other areas be left to their own devices? We took another look at the situation. (Takeshi Nakayama and Yoshiko Nakazawa)

◆No attempt has been made to reach a consensus among the residents.
 The local people are trying to push the project forward without the knowledge of many of them,” said one angry writer.
 Gen Hirai, 70, a writer, is angry. Gen Hirai, 70, is the chairman of the “Association Opposing the Introduction of Radioactively Contaminated Soil into Shinjuku Gyoen,” which lodged a complaint with the Shinjuku City government on March 12, claiming that there had been insufficient explanation of the demonstration project.
 On September 9, the Ministry of the Environment announced a demonstration project using Shinjuku Gyoen as a candidate site. The project will use the flower beds behind the office building, which are normally closed to the general public, and plant them by covering them with decontaminated soil.
 On the 21st, an explanatory meeting was held for residents of Shinjuku 1 and 2 chome facing the Gyoen. However, only 28 people attended the meeting, and Ms. Hirai, who lives in 1-chome, was unaware of it until she learned about it through the media.
 It cannot be said that we are trying to build consensus among the residents of the city,” said Hirai. Mr. Hirai felt a growing sense of crisis and held a study session on the issue of decontaminated soil on the 28th. On the 7th of this month, he established a group to oppose the project with other ward residents.
◆University professors, lawyers, theater performers, and restaurant owners in the Golden district

Gen Hirai speaks about his proposal for a demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil at the Shinjuku City Office in Kabukicho, Tokyo, on December 12.

During his visit to the Shinjuku City Office on January 12, Gen Hirai submitted a written request to the city officials to inform the residents of the demonstration project and to stop bringing decontaminated soil into the city unless its safety is guaranteed.
 The 20 people who accompanied him were a diverse group, including not only local residents but also university professors, lawyers, theater people, and restaurant owners from the Golden Gaien district near the Gyoen. The participants questioned whether the law had been properly established for the reuse of decontaminated soil, and whether this would lead to the spread of contamination rather than alleviate the burden on Fukushima.
 Although Shinjuku has a strong impression of an entertainment district such as Kabukicho, there are many condominiums in the Shinjuku Gyoen area, and some people have lived in the area for three generations. Mr. Hirai used to play in Shinjuku Gyoen when he was in elementary school, and even now he takes a walk there once every three days. Many kindergarteners also visit the park, and there is a promenade where many people come and go. Why are they trying to conduct a demonstration project in such a park?
◆Shinjuku Metropolitan High School, which has produced successive generations of TEPCO executives
 Shinjuku is also characterized by its close ties to TEPCO.
 Graduates of Shinjuku Metropolitan High School, located near the Gyoen Garden, have produced successive generations of TEPCO executives. According to the “Choyo Alumni Association,” a group of graduates, Tsunehisa Katsumata, who was chairman at the time of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and Naomi Hirose, who served as president after the accident, are among the names on the list. In addition, the TEPCO Hospital was located in Shinanomachi near the Gyoen until February 2014. I would like to ask Katsumata and others what they think about bringing (decontaminated soil) so close to their alma mater,” he said.
 What stands out above all else is the Ministry of the Environment’s forward-looking attitude. This can be seen in a video shown at the briefing in Shinjuku, titled “Fukushima and the Environment Beyond. The video, “Fukushima and Beyond: Toward the Environment,” which was shown at the briefing in Shinjuku, also gives some indication.
 The decontaminated soil is described as “an issue that remains in the land of Fukushima, which continues to recover. The video shows images of temporary storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture lined with flexible container bags filled with decontaminated soil, and asks the question, “Is this really a problem only in Fukushima? Is this really only a problem in Fukushima?
 It seems as if he is trying to say that a demonstration project is needed to accept decontaminated soil outside of Fukushima Prefecture, but it is not clear that he is seriously trying to answer the questions of the local residents. The call center, which was listed in the briefing materials, is open only on weekdays, but the staff is curt: “We will use the ‘opinions’ we receive as reference in our future studies.

A park with a signboard showing underground storage of decontaminated soil in Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture, in December 2022.

◆”Shinjuku City also believes what the government says.
 Mr. Hirai said that the government seems to be leaving residents behind.
 He points out that the Shinjuku City government is also accepting the government’s position that the decontaminated soil is safe, even though it cannot be scientifically proven that it is safe. The opposition group will hold an inaugural meeting on March 24, and will continue to raise the issue widely.
 The demonstration project is currently announced for Shinjuku City and Tokorozawa City in Saitama Prefecture, and Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture is also being discussed, but the cleanup of decontaminated soil is not limited to these areas.
 According to the Ministry of the Environment, decontaminated soil from Fukushima Prefecture will be collected at an interim storage facility near the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and then transported out of the prefecture for final disposal by 2045. As of the end of last year, about 13.38 million cubic meters of decontaminated soil had been collected. The company advocates the reuse of the soil to reduce the amount for final disposal and to make it easier to transport the soil out of the prefecture.
◆Decontaminated soil is becoming more and more familiar to people…
 The problem is the radioactive concentration of the decontaminated soil to be reused.
 According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for about 50 years before the nuclear accident, the average radioactive concentration of farmland in Japan was about 20 becquerels per kilogram. On the other hand, the Ministry of the Environment has set a recycling standard for decontaminated soil of 8,000 becquerels or less, about 400 times higher. This is 80 times lower than the recycling standard of 100 becquerels or less for materials from decommissioned nuclear power plants.
 Yayoi Isono, professor emeritus of environmental law at Tokyo Keizai University, commented, “Under these standards, a considerable amount of waste is reused. If soil with a low concentration of radioactive materials is mixed with the soil, it can be diluted to the standard level. If the amount of soil to be reused increases, the number of areas subject to reuse could also increase. If more soil is reused, the number of areas where it will be reused could increase.

Workers seal and bury soil contaminated with radioactive materials in Seya Ward, Yokohama, March 2012.

There are other troubling issues. As a result of the widespread release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, decontamination was widely implemented in the Tohoku and Tokyo metropolitan areas. Decontaminated soil is stored at a total of 29,000 locations in seven prefectures outside of Fukushima Prefecture, including Iwate, Ibaraki, Gunma, and Chiba. The Ministry of the Environment is urging measures such as sealing the soil in bags or containers, covering them with tarps to shield them from water, and covering them with fill.
 However, the measures to be taken after storage differ between Fukushima Prefecture and other prefectures. The basic policy approved by the Cabinet in November 2011 stipulates that the government is responsible for securing interim storage facilities in prefectures where “a significant amount” of contaminated soil and other materials are generated. Fukushima Prefecture falls under this category, while other prefectures are to dispose of contaminated soil onsite.
◆Ministry of the Environment embarking on a demonstration project based on the idea that there is reuse of soil
 However, municipalities outside of Fukushima Prefecture that have decontaminated soil are facing a complicated situation. Marumori Town in Miyagi Prefecture, which is storing decontaminated soil at 44 locations including schools, has approached the Ministry of the Environment, saying, “The government and TEPCO are responsible for transporting the soil out of the town for disposal.
 An official from the town’s general affairs division said, “Some people in the town say, ‘It is not right that the people who dumped the waste did not clean it up, and that the people in the area where the waste was dumped are responsible for disposing of it. The government has not agreed to remove the waste from the town, but we are asking the government to do so, even if it means amending the law,” he said.
 The cleanup of decontaminated soil cannot be a personal matter. However, the grounds for the cleanup methods are not clear, and in some cases, the methods are not clear.
 Reuse of decontaminated soil within Fukushima Prefecture and on-site disposal of decontaminated soil outside of Fukushima Prefecture are merely policies approved by the Cabinet of the time. The question remains as to whether consensus building is sufficient. As for the final disposal of decontaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture, the ministry official said, “We are currently discussing this at an experts’ meeting.
 In spite of this situation, the Ministry of the Environment is embarking on a demonstration project with the idea that the soil can be reused.
 Journalist Junko Masano criticized the Ministry, saying, “There is little legal basis for reusing the soil, and the push to do so is ridiculous. If the land is actually to be reused for road construction and other purposes, it will be necessary to verify protective measures.
 The aforementioned Mr. Isono also commented, “The response to the Fukushima accident will be the foundation for the future. We should have careful discussions on whether we should reuse the waste in the first place and, if so, how we should proceed.
◆Desk Memo
 Radioactive contamination caused by TEPCO’s nuclear power plants. TEPCO is supposed to be in charge of cleaning up the mess, but it is now forcing each region to accept the contaminated soil. The company is now pressuring each region to accept the contaminated soil, as if it were a natural disaster, saying that it is not someone’s fault and that everyone should cooperate for the recovery. This is the premise that makes us feel uncomfortable. This is where the question should be asked again. (Sakaki)

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/224939/2

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January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Report: Tour of Interim Storage Facility and Date City Biomass Power Plant

Posted on December 18, 2022 by Aoki

On December 10-11, we went on a research tour to Fukushima. The objectives of the tour were as follows

(1) Observation of the current status of the interim storage facility
(2) Field survey of biomass power generation in Yanagawa Town, Date City, and a lecture at a study session for local residents
(3) Investigation of the actual contamination situation in Date City and soil sampling

 The interim storage facility is a vast facility that spans the towns of Okuma and Futaba and is located in the shape of the town of Fukuchi. The tour was guided by JESCO (Japan Interim Storage and Environmental Safety Corporation), which operates the facility.

Interim Storage Facility Location

After watching a 10-minute information video and a briefing at the Interim Storage Construction Information Center, we took a JESCO microbus around the site. The previous tour (in April 2021) circled around the Futaba Town side, but this time the course circled around the Okuma Town side.

 The first thing that surprised me when I entered the site was that most of the “removed soil” (i.e., contaminated soil) had already been brought in and processed. Most of the receiving flexible container bag dismantling facility, soil classification facility, combustible material incinerator, and 1.5 km long conveyor line that had been constructed for processing had already been dismantled and removed.

 Landfill work for contaminated soil is also nearly complete.

Contaminated soil landfill site (green sheet is rain protection) Cover this with soil

Dose at the observatory for visitors 1.18 μSv/h

According to JESCO, there are 20-30μSv/h in the forests by the roads.

 About 7% of the vast area that stretches across the towns of Okuma and Futaba has not yet been contracted, so that area has been left untouched as an enclave. Of the remaining 93%, about 10% is under lease and 90% is being purchased by the government.

 Even if all the contaminated soil could be moved out of the prefecture after 30 years, it would still be a vast area of state-owned land (the portion purchased by the government), with private land scattered throughout. It is hard to imagine that normal life or effective personal use would be possible on the scattered private lands.

 The Ministry of the Environment is desperate to dispose of the waste in various locations outside of the prefecture, claiming that “volume reduction,” “reuse,” and “soil is an important resource,” according to the Japan Environmental Safety Corporation (JESCO) Act, which states that “final disposal will be completed outside of Fukushima Prefecture within 30 years after the start of interim storage. The recently announced “reuse” demonstration tests in Tokorozawa City, Shinjuku Gyoen, and other locations are a preparation for such tests.

 Even if there were to be a place that would accept the soil, there would be enormous costs involved in digging up the huge amount of contaminated soil again and transporting it to the receiving site, as well as the risk of spreading the contaminated soil due to accidents during transportation.

 It would be most reasonable now to revise the law and use an interim storage facility as the final disposal site.

Okuma Town Day Service Center for the Elderly (in the same condition as when evacuated immediately after the accident)

Cars in the day service center parking lot also remain in place.

http://chikurin.org/wp/?p=6526&fbclid=IwAR1Ji3AX-ouAA5vebPEvMdoOIfYh3G9FzLY2N2HisaMoorsjx0OEG4nMI_M

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Ministry of the Environment Plans Demonstration Test for Reuse of Decontaminated Soil from Fukushima in Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

Friday, December 9, 2022 11:53

Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Nishimura announced that the Ministry of the Environment is planning to conduct a demonstration test at the Shinjuku Imperial Garden in Tokyo to see if the “decontaminated soil” generated during the decontamination process after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident can be reused.

The government has indicated that it intends to reuse the large amount of “decontaminated soil” in Fukushima Prefecture for public works projects if the concentration of radioactive materials is below a certain standard value.

At a press conference today, Environment Minister Nishimura announced that the Ministry of the Environment is planning to conduct a demonstration test at the Shinjuku Gyoen, which is managed by the Ministry of the Environment, to demonstrate the reuse of the soil. The plan is to create flower beds using decontaminated soil in areas that are off limits to the general public, and to test the radiation levels in the surrounding areas.

This is the second time that a demonstration test is being planned outside of Fukushima Prefecture, following Tokorozawa City in Saitama Prefecture, and the other is in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
https://newsdig.tbs.co.jp/articles/-/225831?display=1

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Decontaminated soil from the nuclear power plant accident “Cleanup is right in front of my house…” Plans to reuse soil from outside Fukushima emerge in Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokorozawa, and Tsukuba

December 10, 2022
An important move has been made regarding the cleanup of the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. A demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil is planned to be conducted for the first time outside of Fukushima Prefecture. The Ministry of the Environment is planning to reduce the amount of decontaminated soil for interim storage in the prefecture by reusing it, and briefing sessions are scheduled for Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture, on December 16 and Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, on December 21. Why has reuse emerged in these areas? Can we easily proceed with reuse that will lead to the proliferation of pollution? (Special Reporting Division: Takuya Kishimoto, Takeshi Nakayama)

A demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil is planned at the Environmental Research and Training Institute in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture.

◆Local residents voiced their confusion, and the city office was reluctant to go ahead with the project.
 A 10-minute walk from Koku Koen Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line in Tokorozawa City, we came upon a corner lot adjacent to the National Defense Medical College. This is the Environmental Research and Training Institute, one of the facilities where a demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil is planned. Across the main street to the west was a residential area.
 How do local residents perceive the plan?
 What is right in front of our house? A woman in her 50s who lives across the street from the training center voiced her confusion. I remember hearing on the news that there was going to be some kind of experiment in Tokorozawa, but…. But have you already decided? I’m not absolutely against it, but there are so many things I don’t understand that I can’t say for sure.
 The training center is a Ministry of the Environment facility used to train personnel involved in environmental conservation. The plan for the demonstration project was explained by Environment Minister Akihiro Nishimura at a press conference on April 6. Decontaminated soil will be used to create a lawn at the facility to confirm its safety.
 He also visited the city hall, which is a few minutes’ walk from the training center. Mr. Kazuto Namiki, director of the Environment and Clean Environment Department, was open to accepting the project.
 The reuse of decontaminated soil is a nationwide issue, not just in Fukushima. We would like to cooperate with them on the premise of ensuring the safety and security of residents. The Ministry of the Environment approached the city in June of this year, and discussions have continued. Naturally, we are proceeding with the project after consulting with the mayor.
 Mayor Masato Fujimoto. He seems to have such strong feelings about the project that he wrote on the city’s website, “The Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident were the starting point of my desire to become mayor.
 In 2012, the year after the earthquake, the city once announced a policy to cancel the installation of air conditioners in junior high schools, saying, “Now that we have experienced the disaster, we need to be patient. Although he later retracted the policy in response to a referendum in which the majority of residents opposed it, a source familiar with the city government described him as “the type of person who goes his own way, without regard for criticism.
 In August of this year, he revealed that he had attended an event of an organization affiliated with the Family Coalition for World Peace and Unification (formerly the Unification Church), causing controversy when he said, “I don’t feel that much remorse” and “My personality is such that I can’t say I won’t go anymore.
◆Residents’ explanatory meeting was limited to 50 people, many of whom were unaware of the event.
 The lack of explanation about the demonstration project to reuse decontaminated soil seems to be conspicuous.
 The Ministry of the Environment plans to hold a briefing session for residents at the training center on the evening of the 16th of this month. The details of the project will be revealed there for the first time. However, the number of participants is limited to 50 residents of the neighborhood, and pre-registration is required. The city was in charge of the briefing, but it was only announced on 28 bulletin boards in the area.
 A local man (81) said, “I didn’t know about the briefing. I don’t usually look at bulletin boards. Another woman said, “I thought it would be announced in the city’s newsletter. When we asked about 10 residents, none of them knew that the information about the briefing was posted on the bulletin board.
 After the plans for the demonstration project came to light, the city received about 40 inquiries, the majority of which were negative. Yoichi Sugiura, who has been involved in the local anti-base movement and has confronted the government and the city, said, “Even if it is a national project, the city is not going to accept it.
 Even if it is a government project, the city should confirm the wishes of the citizens before taking any action, but they are proceeding with the project without informing us well. If the city is going ahead with the project by fiat without listening to citizens’ opinions, it will be the same as when the air conditioner was installed.
◆Decontaminated soil in Fukushima also failed due to local opposition.
 Why is the Ministry of the Environment trying to reuse decontaminated soil?
 Interim storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture (Futaba and Okuma towns) began receiving decontaminated soil in 2015, and the amount is expected to reach about 14 million cubic meters. The government has stated that final disposal will take place outside the prefecture by 45 years for both towns. In June 2004, the Ministry of the Environment set a standard for reusing decontaminated soil with a level of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram or less. This is considerably looser than the standard for reusing materials from decommissioned nuclear power plants (100 becquerels per kilogram).

Interim storage facilities for temporarily storing contaminated soil spread out around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on January 25, 2012, from the “Oozuru” helicopter operated by the head office of the company (photo by Ryo Ito).

However, it is difficult to say that recycling is on track.
 In Fukushima Prefecture, a plan to use the soil for filling city roads in Nihonmatsu City was abandoned due to opposition from local residents. In Minamisoma City, the city built fill and measured the radioactivity concentration of seepage water, but a plan to reuse the soil for construction of the Joban Expressway did not materialize due to local opposition. Now, only an experiment in crop cultivation is underway in Iitate Village. Tsunehide Chino, associate professor of environmental sociology at Shinshu University, said, “It is difficult to obtain broad public agreement, and the demonstration project has nowhere to go.
 Nevertheless, in August, the Ministry of the Environment announced a policy to implement the demonstration project outside of Fukushima Prefecture. In addition to the Environmental Research and Training Institute in Tokorozawa City, Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo), a facility affiliated with the Ministry of the Environment, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture) are also being discussed as possible sites. A Ministry of the Environment official explained, “We took into consideration the fact that there is space in the area that is not accessible to the general public. In the demonstration project, flowerbeds, grass plazas, parking lots, etc. will be built, and data on changes in radiation levels in the surrounding area will be collected.
◆Tokorozawa, Tsukuba, and Shinjuku Gyoen…places with close ties to the country
 Tokorozawa was the site of an army airfield before World War II and is now the site of a U.S. military communications base, so it is closely related to national security policy. Tsukuba has the face of an academic city, and research institutes with close ties to the national government are also prominent. Shinjuku Gyoen was the site of the “Cherry Blossom Viewing Party” hosted by the prime minister.
 The connection with the government may remind one of the government-led recycling of decontaminated soil, but Mr. Chino said, “If a facility has a relationship with the Ministry of the Environment, it may be easier to conduct a demonstration project. In other words, it is only possible there. He then goes on to express his concern, “It is not clear to what extent the project will be agreed upon, including with the residents of the surrounding area, and they are trying to move forward without finding a way out.
 On the other hand, an official in charge of Shinjuku City, the home of Shinjuku Gyoen, where the demonstration project was announced, remains calm, saying, “The Ministry of the Environment should take the responsibility of explaining the project to the local residents and gain their understanding.
 Chia Yoshida, a freelance writer who has been covering the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, is suspicious of the Ministry of the Environment’s preoccupation with the issue, saying, “I suspect that they are trying to proceed with the project by putting the residents’ wishes second.
 This attitude of the national government can be seen in the ongoing reconstruction project in Hamadori, Fukushima. In the area, the Reconstruction Agency will launch the Fukushima International Research and Education Organization in the next fiscal year, bringing together industries such as robotics, drones, and radiation science. Many of the technologies being handled are “dual-use” technologies that can be used by both the military and civilian sectors.
 In the name of ostensibly “reconstruction,” the idea of the business community and some research institutes that share its intentions may be taking precedence. The government’s policies, including the reuse of decontaminated soil, are proceeding without sufficient explanation to the local communities, and the residents are being left behind.
 Yoshiharu Monma, 65, chairman of the “30-year Interim Storage Facility Landowners Association,” said, “It is out of the question that decontaminated soil, which should be confined to one place, is being spread around the country by using the sound of reusing it. As with the restarting of nuclear power plants, we are seeing the government move in such a way as to make people think that they can do whatever they want after so much time has passed since the Fukushima accident,” he continued.
 In the first place, TEPCO, which caused the accident, should take responsibility for the final disposal of the decontaminated soil. For example, the government should consider condensing the decontaminated soil on TEPCO’s land, and the government should shoulder the shortage of funds and manpower. I would like to see these disposal methods discussed in a forum open to the public as a problem for Japan as a whole.”
Related article] Where to in 2045? Contaminated soil generated by the nuclear power plant accident: The current location of intermediate storage facilities in Fukushima
◆Desk Memo
 Decontaminated soil should be cleaned up by those who caused the accident. However, the Ministry of the Environment tries to bring it to various places in the name of reusing it. Without regard to pre-accident standards, a system will be set up to allow use even if considerable contamination remains, and a demonstration project for vegetable cultivation will also be carried out. The wild story looms over the Tokyo metropolitan area. This is no time to be distracted by the World Cup. (Sakaki)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/219058

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo park to be used in Fukushima soil recycling demonstration

Dec. 9, 2022

Japan’s environment ministry has announced plans to demonstrate the reuse of decontaminated soil from Fukushima at a Tokyo park.

Environment Minister Nishimura Akihiro announced on Friday that the project will take place at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Soil exposed to radioactive fallout from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been decontaminated and kept in intermediary storage in the prefecture.

The government plans to reuse the soil for public works projects as long as the concentration of radioactive substances falls below a certain threshold.

Nishimura said the ministry will use the soil in a flower bed in an area normally closed to the public and later hold public flower-viewing events.

Ministry officials are to meet with nearby residents to explain about the project on December 21. The project is due to start early next year.

Nishimura said the ministry hopes to use the project to gain public understanding for the recycling of the decontaminated soil.

Earlier in the week, the ministry announced a plan to test soil recycling at the National Environmental Research and Training Institute in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo.

Trials to reuse the soil have so far only taken place in Fukushima.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20221209_17/

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Ministry plans tests on reusing Fukushima soil in Tokyo area

A temporary storage site for soil contaminated from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in February. The bags of radioactive waste were due to be shipped to an interim storage facility.

December 7, 2022

The Environment Ministry is eyeing the Tokyo metropolitan area for its first trial runs outside Fukushima Prefecture on reusing soil decontaminated after the 2011 nuclear disaster, The Asahi Shimbun learned on Dec. 6.

The ministry said the tests will take place at three government-related facilities in Tokyo, Saitama and Ibaraki prefectures.

But authorities said they have yet to gain the understanding of residents at all three candidate sites on the reuse of the soil, which still contains low-level radioactive substances.

Decontamination work was carried out on soil exposed to radioactive materials after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The decontaminated soil has been kept at an interim storage facility in Fukushima Prefecture, but a law requires final disposal of the soil outside the prefecture by 2045.

The volume of decontaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture, excluding the difficult-to-return zones where radiation levels remain high, is about 14 million cubic meters, enough to fill 11 Tokyo Domes.

Reusing the soil is part of the government’s efforts to reduce that volume before disposal.

The ministry is considering conducting the tests at the Shinjuku Imperial Garden in Tokyo, the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the National Environmental Research and Training Institute in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.

Tokorozawa city will hold a briefing on the plan for about 50 residents on Dec. 16.

Under the experiment in Tokorozawa, decontaminated soil will be reused for lawns, and tests will be conducted to verify changes in radiation doses in the air.

For the trial runs in Tokyo and Ibaraki Prefecture, the soil will be used for parking lots and flower beds.

“We would like to use the experiments to gain public understanding regarding the reuse of the soil,” Environmental Minister Akihiro Nishimura said at a news conference on Dec. 6.

Only soil that measures below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, the threshold set by the government, will be used in the trial runs.

The ministry has been conducting experiments on reusing the decontaminated soil for farmland in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture.

But plans for similar tests in Minami-Soma and Nihonmatsu cities, also in the prefecture, fell through after residents opposed.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14786753

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Ministry of the Environment to Reuse Decontaminated Soil in Shinjuku Gyoen and Other Places

December 6, 2022

The Ministry of the Environment is considering conducting demonstration tests to reuse soil removed from decontamination sites in Fukushima prefecture outside the prefecture, including the ministry’s Environmental Research and Training Institute (Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture) and Shinjuku Imperial Garden (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo).

The other is the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture). 

At a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on the same day, Environment Minister Akihiro Nishimura explained that there were several candidate sites and that he was coordinating with related local governments.

This is an important project for Fukushima Prefecture. We want to confirm the safety of the project and help build understanding. The Environmental Research and Training Center plans to reuse the land to create a lawn square, and will hold a briefing session for local residents on March 16.

https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/article/770796/

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Reuse of decontaminated soil to be tested outside Fukushima

Dec. 6, 2022

Japan’s Environment Ministry is planning its first trial outside Fukushima Prefecture on the reuse of soil that was decontaminated after the 2011 nuclear accident.

The ministry says the demonstration will take place at the National Environmental Research and Training Institute in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo.

Officials will use the soil in a courtyard to grow a lawn. They plan to brief nearby residents in mid-December to seek their understanding, and begin the trial in January at the earliest.

Soil exposed to radioactive fallout from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been cleansed and kept in intermediary storage in the prefecture.

The government plans to reuse the soil for public works projects as long as the concentration of radioactive substances falls below a certain threshold.

Trials to reuse the soil to grow vegetables and create earth mounds have so far only taken place in Fukushima.

Environment Minister Nishimura Akihiro told reporters on Tuesday that his ministry hopes to use the experiment in Saitama to confirm safety and gain public understanding for the recycling of the soil.

He said the ministry will coordinate with other candidate sites where similar trials could be held.

A law mandates the final disposal of the decontaminated soil outside Fukushima by 2045. But it remains unclear how this will be achieved.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20221206_17/

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Decontaminated soil taken out of Fukushima prefecture and reused for the first time outside of Fukushima, at a Ministry of the Environment facility

Storage of decontaminated soil at an interim storage facility in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, in June.

December 5, 2022
On December 5, it was learned that the Ministry of the Environment plans to conduct a demonstration test for reusing soil removed from decontamination sites in Fukushima Prefecture following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant at its Environmental Research and Training Center in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. This is the first test in which decontaminated soil will be taken out of Fukushima Prefecture, and the question is whether the test will gain the understanding of local residents. A briefing session for local residents will be held on March 16.
 The Ministry of the Environment has not revealed the amount of decontaminated soil to be brought in or the timing of the test, saying, “The details of the test will be announced after the briefing.
 The law stipulates that decontaminated soil from Fukushima Prefecture must be removed from the prefecture by 45 years for final disposal.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/218081?rct=national&fbclid=IwAR3dokeQ-qpNfi1ly6cAA68x8goY-BuVi-fuq0pXUx-1UUhh_hJuUBq6neI

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Ministry of the Environment – Draft Demonstration Plan for Reclamation of Removed Soil, Seeking Use as Road Fill

August 4, 2022

The Ministry of the Environment has compiled a draft plan for a demonstration project to recycle removed soil in order to reduce the final disposal volume of waste generated by the decontamination project for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The project aims to expand the use of recycled materials based on removed soil at intermediate storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture (in the towns of Okuma and Futaba), and is exploring the use of the materials for road fill. The design and construction methods and procedures will be studied until October, and construction will be carried out between October and January 2023. The project will be implemented from October to January 2023. After January, various tests and monitoring will be conducted. The project will also conduct demonstrations outside of the prefecture to demonstrate the use of recycled materials for parking lot construction and other purposes.
 On March 3, the first meeting of the “Working Group to Study the Recycling of Soil Removal at Interim Storage Facilities” (WG, chaired by Professor Takeshi Katsumi, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University) was held in Tokyo, where the draft plan was presented. The WG will organize and evaluate the findings from the demonstration project, and study measures to safely use the removed soil as recycled materials. A practical guide for recycling will also be prepared.
 According to the draft plan, recycled materials will be used for roadway fill in the interim storage facility. The road to be used for the general road standards is assumed to be a structure with sidewalks and a daily traffic volume of 4,000 to 20,000 vehicles (Class 3 and Class 2). The road is assumed to be a structure with sidewalks. Evaluation will be conducted after actual construction. The results of the project will be reflected in the guide.
 A demonstration project will be conducted outside of Fukushima Prefecture with the aim of realizing final disposal outside of Fukushima Prefecture. Recycled materials will be used for the roadbed of parking lots, and different reclamation patterns will be demonstrated, including differences in pavement and roadbed materials. Cases in which recycled materials are used to create flowerbeds and plazas will also be investigated. During the construction and use of the reclaimed materials, air dose rates in and around the reclaimed areas and radioactive concentrations in seepage water will be measured to confirm safety. Construction will be conducted this year, and monitoring will begin after completion.

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Where to in 2045? Contaminated Soil from the Nuclear Power Plant Accident: The Present Location of Interim Storage Facilities, Fukushima.

July 3, 2022
Contaminated removed soil and other materials generated by decontamination following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are temporarily stored at an interim storage facility adjacent to the plant. Decontamination outside of the difficult-to-return zones has been largely completed, and decontamination is also progressing in the specified restoration and rehabilitation base areas (restoration bases) within the difficult-to-return zones where evacuation orders are expected to be lifted this spring or later. However, there is no concrete plan for the decontamination of areas outside of the restoration centers that are difficult to return to, and there has been no progress in discussions regarding the removal of contaminated soil outside of Fukushima Prefecture. Eleven years after the accident, the problem of radioactive waste remains unresolved. (The problem of radioactive waste remains unresolved even 11 years after the accident.)

◆Total amount of contaminated waste is not foreseeable
 According to the Ministry of the Environment, the amount of contaminated soil generated by decontamination in areas other than the difficult-to-return zones is estimated to be 14 million cubic meters, an enormous amount equivalent to 11 times the size of the Tokyo Dome. The soil is scheduled to be delivered to an interim storage facility by March 2010. In the remaining difficult-to-return zones in the seven municipalities of Fukushima Prefecture, six municipalities (excluding Minamisoma City) have been designated as “specific restoration base areas (restoration bases)” where decontamination work will be carried out ahead of other areas. It is estimated that 1.6 to 2 million cubic meters of contaminated soil will be generated in the decontamination of the reconstruction bases.
 In addition, the government decided in August 2009 to lift the evacuation order for difficult-to-return zones outside of the restoration centers by decontaminating homes and other structures on request of those who wish to return. The Ministry of the Environment said, “We will proceed with the acquisition of land and the construction of storage facilities while keeping a close eye on the amount of soil that can be brought in. We do not know the maximum amount that can be brought in.

◆Unclear whether the waste will be transported out of Fukushima Prefecture
 As the name implies, storage at interim storage facilities is considered “temporary” for final disposal. The government has promised to remove the contaminated soil to a final disposal site outside of Fukushima Prefecture in 2045, 30 years after the storage began in 2015. However, it is not known whether there are municipalities that will accept the waste contaminated by the nuclear accident, and the candidate site has not yet been decided.
 In addition, three-quarters of the total amount of contaminated soil in storage currently contains less than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of soil, which is the same level as that of the soil that is normally incinerated or landfilled. The government plans to reuse contaminated soil with less than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram in public works projects such as road construction. However, the use of contaminated soil is strongly opposed by local residents, and efforts to put this into practical use have run into difficulties. The Ministry of the Environment states that it will “continue its efforts to develop technologies and gain the understanding of related parties.

Interim storage facilities are located around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and cover an area of 1,600 hectares. Of the privately owned land, which accounts for about 80% of the total area, 93% has been acquired by the government. The delivery of contaminated soil generated outside of the difficult-to-return zone is expected to be completed by the end of FY2022.

福島第一原発を囲むようにして汚染土を一時保管する中間貯蔵施設が広がる=福島県大熊町で(2022年1月25日、本社ヘリ「おおづる」から伊藤遼撮影)

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/161520?fbclid=IwAR1aeeM_DVPdjUmckTFzItQfpsfj9wKIRu9IbxaiTzDwnqK50g3THWmCd_0

July 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Is contaminated soil from the nuclear accident waste? A valuable resource? Ask the Experts

Tsunehide Chino, associate professor at Shinshu University, is interviewed online December 20, 2021; photo by Tetsuya Kasai.

April 8, 2022

Fukushima: The delivery of contaminated soil from the decontamination process following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to an interim storage facility was largely completed last month. The law stipulates that the final disposal of the contaminated soil must be outside the prefecture, but no one has yet found a place to accept the soil. We asked Tsunehide Chino, an associate professor at Shinshu University and an expert on radioactive waste administration, about the legal status of the facility and how the contaminated soil should be “recycled.

     ◇ ◇Associate Professor Tsunehide Chino of Shinshu University

 –The delivery of contaminated soil to the interim storage facility was largely completed at the end of March.

Burying decontaminated soil in an interim storage facility: 2:27 p.m., June 17, 2021, Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture; photo by Tetsuya Kasai.

 The law states that “necessary measures shall be taken for final disposal outside the prefecture by 2045. That is quite a delicate phrase.”

 –prefectures can argue that the promise to remove the materials out of the prefecture should be honored.

 The problem has taken on another dimension since the law clearly states this. For example, the government signed a ‘letter of commitment’ with the governor of Aomori Prefecture regarding the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste from Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture outside the prefecture. It is not a law.”

 The law is not wrong, and neither the prefectural governor nor the heads of local governments have any choice but to talk about their positions, even if they don’t believe that the cargo will be removed in 45 years. It has become difficult for them to express their true feelings.”

 –The national government has a policy of recycling contaminated soil with radiation levels below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, as final disposal of the entire amount of contaminated soil is difficult.

 There is no legal basis for recycling. If the prefectural governor and others say that the contaminated soil in the interim storage facility will be taken out of the prefecture because it is clearly stated in the law, then it makes sense to discuss and make the recycling of contaminated soil into a law.

 –How was the standard for recycling (8,000 becquerels) determined?

 In 2005, the government established a clearance system that allows radioactive waste to be disposed of as normal waste, and set the standard at 0.01 millisievert per year as a level of radiation that has negligible effects on the human body when it is recycled or landfilled. This is equivalent to 100 becquerels of radiation per kilogram. After the nuclear accident, however, the government relaxed the standard for disposal to 1 millisievert per year. The amount of radiation that we calculated backwards from that is 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

 –So you want to apply this to soil that is to be reclaimed?

 The government has positioned reclamation as part of the disposal process. The government has taken the liberty of changing the rules to say that although it is disposal, it only needs to meet the 1 millisievert per year requirement.

 If it’s disposal, it has to meet clearance standards. The repository has been operated in accordance with these standards. But, for example, it is estimated that it would take 160 years of natural attenuation for contaminated soil with a level of 5,000 becquerels per kilogram to meet the criteria for disposal. It is unlikely that the facilities where the soil will be recycled will be maintained and managed for that long. The government’s policy is irresponsible.”

 –The government says that the soil to be reclaimed is a “precious resource.

 The Basic Policy for Fukushima Reconstruction and Revitalization approved by the cabinet in July 2012 clearly states that contaminated soil in the prefecture will be finally disposed of outside the prefecture 30 years after interim storage begins, and the idea that soil is a resource was written into law in December 2002.

 In waste administration, waste is anything that is no longer needed. If it can be used or sold, it is a resource. So we ask the Ministry of the Environment, ‘So you give away soil for public works projects for a fee? We tell them that there is no such thing as “reverse compensation,” in which we pay for the soil when we give it to them. But they are not very understanding.

 –The legalities regarding the handling of contaminated soil are unclear, and the standards are difficult to understand. How do you plan to resolve the situation where residents have no say in the matter?

 The situation cannot be solved by creating a law. The first step is for the government and TEPCO to explain firmly that it will be more difficult than expected to return the living environment in the hard-to-return zones and other areas to the state it was in before the nuclear accident. The best way to restore the trust that has been lost over the past decade is for both sides to understand the bitter reality.

     ◇ ◇ ◇

 Tsunehide Chino was born in 1978 in Tokyo. D. (Policy Science) from Hosei University’s Graduate School of Social Sciences. associate professor at Shinshu University’s Faculty of Humanities since 2014. has been researching issues such as radioactive waste for nearly 20 years, mainly in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture. He is also the coordinator of the Nuclear Waste Subcommittee of the Citizens Commission on Atomic Energy.
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ476QGRQ1DUGTB001.html?fbclid=IwAR2vajn4ZWVmJU2VZd3Er_NwclfBJYHiB02ZsPpSqyuCJD_8QKgofwdCDGI

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated soil piles up in vast Fukushima cleanup project

March 18, 2022

More than a decade of decontamination efforts around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has allowed thousands of evacuees to return home. But there are still some areas off limits due to the radiation levels. And as contaminated soil piles up, former residents are wondering when, or if, they will go back.

The cleanup work started soon after the nuclear accident in March 2011. The nuclear disaster discharged radioactive particles across Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. More than 70 percent of Fukushima’s municipalities were registering radiation levels above the national safety standard. Decontamination was key to making the region safe again and reviving local industries.

Workers have been removing radioactive topsoil, grass, trees, and building materials. The scale and expense of the project is vast. The Japanese government has already spent more than $43 billion on decontamination efforts.

Decontamination work started soon after the nuclear accident.

Storage facility worries residents

The contaminated soil and waste was piling up in residential areas and hindering reconstruction efforts, so the government decided to build temporary storage facilities on land stretching across the towns of Futaba and Okuma which host the nuclear plant. It occupies a 1,600-hectare site—nearly five times the size of New York’s Central Park.

Large amounts of contaminated soil and waste are brought in daily to the interim storage facility.

Since 2015, about 1,000 trucks have been arriving daily and dumping around 7,000 bags of soil. The Environment Ministry says workers have moved almost 13 million cubic meters of it so far.

The government introduced a law requiring the soil to be moved out of Fukushima Prefecture by 2045. But the people of Fukushima, especially those who used to live near the site, are worried it will become a permanent fixture.

“There is concern that this will become a final disposal site, but I understand that it’s inevitable that people will have to accept it,” says an 84-year-old man who once lived on the site. “I don’t think I will be alive in 30 years, but I want them to put my land back the way it was.”

Promising research

In a bid to reduce the overall amount of waste, crews are sorting the material at the facility to separate what can be burned. It is hoped that some of the soil can be reused.

Technology is being developed to allow the re-use of contaminated soil.

The Environment Ministry is looking at whether it can use the soil to grow vegetables or build roads. Research on food cultivation in the area has found radiation levels below official standards.

So far, the research has been limited to one district of Fukushima. The Environment Ministry is planning to commission further studies aim to help people understand what’s possible and, most importantly, what’s safe.

A final disposal site

The biggest challenge for the national government is to find suitable land outside of Fukushima for final disposal. Officials have been running a public awareness campaign to try to find support for a location. So far, no municipality has volunteered to be the host.

Despite the lack of progress, the government is adamant it remains committed to its deadline.

“We have promised the local government we will dispose of the waste outside the prefecture by March 2045,” says Environment Ministry official Hattori Hiroshi. “Since it is required by law, we will fulfill the promise. Of course, we are fully aware of the voices of concern from local people.”

High radiation zones remain

Officials say the project to transfer contaminated soil to an interim storage site will be largely completed by the end of this month, but in parts of Fukushima—including the towns of Futaba and Okuma—the radiation levels are relatively high and full-scale decontamination work has not yet begun. And more than 30,000 people still are not able to return their homes.

Barricades are set up around a “difficult-to-return” zone.

Not one of the former residents of Futaba has returned to live there full-time. Local officials are hoping to allow some back in June for the first time. But an official survey found that more than 60 percent of the former residents have no intention of returning. Only about one in ten said they want to return. Almost a quarter of respondents say they haven’t made their minds up yet.

Many of the evacuees have already restarted their lives elsewhere. The central and local governments are hoping they can attract new residents to the area and are offering $17,000 to anyone who makes the move.

But for those former residents undecided about returning, safety concerns are paramount. They want to know if the decontamination work will be completed and the soil will be moved. They also want more clarity about the decommissioning work at the crippled plant. The government has promised that will be completed by 2051 at the latest, but details are scant.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1942/?fbclid=IwAR1i4JgJgIGFdO0nWq_b7ZziTFxsxfVOLBj0hJ93b71UPyIkp3vjSQkf_YM

March 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated soil from nuclear power plant, destination yet to be determined…

March 12, 2022

Seven years have passed since the operation of the interim storage facilities that surround TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant began. The delivery of contaminated soil from the decontamination of the nuclear accident is expected to be almost completed by the end of this month, except for that from the difficult-to-return zone. Although Fukushima Prefecture has legislated that the contaminated soil must be removed from the prefecture by 2045, the destination of the soil has yet to be decided.

After the nuclear accident, more than 17 million cubic meters of contaminated soil and waste from decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture have been generated. Because it is unrealistic to dispose of such a large amount of waste, the government hopes to reuse the contaminated soil, which has a relatively low concentration of radioactive materials, as a “resource” for public works projects and agricultural land. The target is soil with a level of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram or less, which currently accounts for three-fourths of the total. Furthermore, it is estimated that up to 97% of the material will be reusable by the year 45 due to natural attenuation and other factors.

 However, at this point, only a little less than 1 million cubic meters will be used for a demonstration project in Iitate Village, Iitate Prefecture, to demonstrate the use of agricultural land. It would be nice if it could be used for large-scale public works projects such as port reclamation, but in this day and age, there is no need,” said a Ministry of the Environment official.

Eleven years after the earthquake, there is not even a clear destination for the contaminated soil. Residents are expected to protest if attempts are made to reuse the soil, and zero governors have responded that they would be willing to accept it. In municipalities that do not have interim storage facilities, the contaminated soil is “stored on-site” and can be found in residential areas in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Survey of 46 prefectural governors: Zero governors responded that they were “willing to accept” the waste.

 It is not easy to gain the understanding of residents. In 2006, the Japanese government planned to use the contaminated soil for a demonstration project to widen an expressway in Minamisoma City. However, local residents protested one after another, saying that it was the same as final disposal and that their crops would be damaged by harmful rumors, and in March of last year, the government informed the residents of its decision to abandon the project.

 The residents of the area were not happy with the decision.
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ3C5DZTQ33UGTB00X.html?fbclid=IwAR1ro_tQJZMsG_kr6rXgKCqXHdvix-WmRG5uwcEaEYzuPRFkji3w7PAfJxo

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Where to in 2045? Contaminated Soil from the Nuclear Power Plant Accident: Current Status of Interim Storage Facilities in Fukushima

February 21, 2022
 Contaminated soil and other materials generated by decontamination following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are being temporarily stored at an interim storage facility adjacent to the plant. The decontamination of areas outside the difficult-to-return areas has largely been completed, and the decontamination of areas inside the difficult-to-return areas in the designated reconstruction and revitalization base areas (reconstruction bases), where evacuation orders are expected to be lifted after this spring, is also proceeding. However, no concrete measures have been taken for decontamination of the difficult-to-return areas outside the reconstruction centers, and no progress has been made in discussing the transport of contaminated soil out of Fukushima Prefecture. Eleven years after the accident, there is still no way to solve the problem of radioactive waste. (Kenta Onozawa, Shinichi Ogawa)

12.67 million bags from 52 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture
 Radioactive materials released from the nuclear power plant in the accident contaminated land and buildings in Fukushima Prefecture and other large areas. Each municipality has made progress in decontamination, and the soil and other waste from the decontamination process has been collected in flexible container bags (sandbags, one bag is one cubic meter), and delivery to the interim storage facility built around Fukushima Daiichi began in FY2015. As of February 10, 2022, the total amount of waste will amount to about 12.67 million cubic meters from 52 of the 59 municipalities in Fukushima. (*The graph below can also be viewed by region: Hamadori, Nakadori, and Aizu)

How much contaminated soil has been transported to the interim storage facility?
February 10, 2022

All areas:

Fukushima Prefecture has a population of 1,810,286 (as of 1 May 2021) and has a geographic area of 13,783 square kilometres (5,322 sq mi). Fukushima is the capital and Iwaki is the largest city of Fukushima Prefecture, with other major cities including Kōriyama, Aizuwakamatsu, and Sukagawa. Fukushima Prefecture is located on Japan’s eastern Pacific coast at the southernmost part of the Tōhoku region, and is home to Lake Inawashiro, the fourth-largest lake in Japan. Fukushima Prefecture is the third-largest prefecture of Japan (after Hokkaido and Iwate Prefecture) and divided by mountain ranges into the three regions of Aizu, Nakadōri, and Hamadōri.

Hamadori:

Hamadōri (浜通り) is the easternmost of the three regions of Fukushima Prefecture. Hamadōri is bordered by the Abukuma Highlands to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The principal city of the area is Iwaki.

Area: 2,969.11 km2 (1,146.38 sq mi)

Population: (2017) 452,588

Nakadori:

Nakadōri (中通り, Nakadōri) is a region comprising the middle third of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It is sandwiched between the regions of Aizu to the west and Hamadōri to the east. The principal cities of the area are Kōriyama and the prefecture’s capital, Fukushima.

Area : 5,392.95 km2 (2,082.23 sq mi)

Population: ( 2017) 1,159,245

Aizu:

Aizu (会津) is the westernmost of the three regions of Fukushima Prefecture. The principal city of the area is Aizuwakamatsu.

Area: 5,420.69 km2 (2,092.94 sq mi)

Population: (2017) 270,648

Source: Interim Storage Facility Information Website

The total amount of contaminated garbage is not foreseeable.
 According to the Ministry of the Environment, the amount of contaminated soil generated from the decontamination of areas other than the difficult-to-return areas is estimated to be 14 million cubic meters, a huge amount equivalent to 11 fillings of Tokyo Dome. The soil is scheduled to be delivered to the interim storage facility by March 2010. In the remaining difficult-to-return areas in seven cities, towns, and villages in Fukushima Prefecture, six cities, towns, and villages (excluding Minamisoma City) have been designated as “Designated Reconstruction and Revitalization Centers (Reconstruction Centers)” where decontamination will be carried out ahead of time. It is estimated that 1.6 to 2 million cubic meters of contaminated soil will be released from the decontamination of the reconstruction centers.
 In addition to this, in August 2009, the government decided to lift the evacuation order for those who wish to return to their homes in the difficult-to-return areas outside the reconstruction centers. The Ministry of the Environment said, “We will proceed with the acquisition of land and the construction of storage facilities while monitoring the status of delivery. We do not know the maximum amount that can be brought in.

Uncertainty about transporting the materials out of Fukushima Prefecture
 As the name implies, the storage at the interim storage facility is supposed to be “temporary” before the final disposal. The government has promised that the contaminated soil will be transported to a final disposal site outside Fukushima Prefecture in 2045, 30 years after the storage began in 2015. However, it is not clear if there are any municipalities that will accept the waste contaminated by the nuclear accident, and the candidate site has not yet been decided.
 At present, three quarters of the total amount of contaminated soil stored at the site contains less than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. The government plans to reuse the contaminated soil with a concentration of 8,000 becquerels or less for road construction and other public works. The government plans to reuse soil contaminated with less than 8,000 becquerels for road construction and other public works. However, opposition to the use of contaminated soil from local residents is strong, and efforts to put the technology to practical use are running into difficulties. The Ministry of the Environment says, “We will continue to develop technology and work to gain the understanding of the people concerned.

The interim storage facilities are located around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and cover an area of 1,600 hectares. Of the privately owned land, which accounts for about 80%, 93% has been acquired by the government. The delivery of contaminated soil generated outside the difficult-to-return area is expected to be completed in March 2022.

An interim storage facility for temporarily storing contaminated soil surrounds the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture (Photo by Ryo Ito taken from the Oozuru helicopter on January 25, 2022)

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/161520?fbclid=IwAR1b5iup-QLbj1zzR66bQ14Ln_Y4_vF2_WsYNbe38CFPf5lAraXEuByZ2QQ

February 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment