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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

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

Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas

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December 15, 2019

Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas Soil from the Fukushima prefecture may be used as landfill for the creation of “green areas” in Japan, a government panel has proposed, facing potential public backlash over fears of exposure to residual radiation from the decontaminated earth. Trends

The advisory panel of the Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing soil that was contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011 as part of future landfills designated for public use, Kyodo news .

In its proposal, the environmental panel avoided openly using the word “park” and instead said “green space,” apparently to avoid a premature public outcry, Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Following an from the news outlet, the Ministry of the Environment clarified that “parks are included in the green space.”

In addition to decontaminating and recycling the tainted earth for new parks, the ministry also stressed the need to create a new organization that will be tasked with gaining public trust about the prospects of such modes of recycling.

To calm immediate public concerns, the panel said the decontaminated soil will be used away from residential areas and will be covered with a separate level of vegetation to meet government guidelines approved last year.

In June last year, the Ministry of the Environment decided to reuse contaminated soil with radioactive cesium concentration between 5,000 to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram for public works such as nationwide roads and tidal banks.

Under these guidelines, which can now be extended to be used for the parks, the tainted soil shall be covered with clean earth, concrete or other materials.

Such a landfill, the government said at the time, will not cause harm to nearby residents as they will suffer exposure less than 0.01 mSv a year after the construction is completed.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the facility, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant‘s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

https://stockdailydish.com/japan-ponders-recycling-fukushima-soil-for-public-parks-green-areas/

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December 17, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan Has Enough Nuclear Material to Build an Arsenal. Its Plan: Recycle.

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After decades of delays, a plant in Rokkasho, Japan, is almost ready to start turning nuclear waste into nuclear fuel, its builders say. But Japan doesn’t use much nuclear power any more.
 
Sept. 22, 2018
ROKKASHO, Japan — More than 30 years ago, when its economy seemed invincible and the Sony Walkman was ubiquitous, Japan decided to build a recycling plant to turn nuclear waste into nuclear fuel. It was supposed to open in 1997, a feat of advanced engineering that would burnish its reputation for high-tech excellence and make the nation even less dependent on others for energy.
Then came a series of blown deadlines as the project hit technical snags and struggled with a Sisyphean list of government-mandated safety upgrades. Seventeen prime ministers came and went, the Japanese economy slipped into a funk and the initial $6.8 billion budget ballooned into $27 billion of spending.
Now, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., the private consortium building the recycling plant, says it really is almost done. But there is a problem: Japan does not use much nuclear power any more. The country turned away from nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and only nine of its 35 reactors are operational.
It is a predicament with global ramifications. While waiting for the plant to be built, Japan has amassed a stockpile of 47 metric tons of plutonium, raising concerns about nuclear proliferation and Tokyo’s commitment to refrain from building nuclear arms even as it joins the United States in pressing North Korea to give up its arsenal.

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment

Ministry shows plan to recycle radioactive soil in Fukushima

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The Environment Ministry demonstrates an experiment on recycling contaminated soil, shown in black in the center, in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 17.

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–In an apparent attempt to quell fears, the Environment Ministry on May 17 showed how it will recycle radioactive soil in construction projects to reduce the growing piles of widely abhorred contaminated debris.

In the demonstration to media representatives here, the ministry measured radioactivity levels of bags of soil collected in decontamination work around the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and sorted the earth from other garbage.

Using soil with readings up to 3,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, the ministry plans to create a 5-meter-tall mound measuring 20 meters by 80 meters. Such mounds could be used, for example, as foundations for seawalls and roads in Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere.

Testing of the methods started on April 24.

After confirming the safety, the ministry wants to promote the use of the recycled soil.

Radioactive debris from the cleanup around the nuclear plant will be stored at interim facilities to be built in Futaba and Okuma, the two towns that host the nuclear plant. The government seeks to move the contaminated debris outside the prefecture for final disposal by 2045.

The government had a difficult time finding municipalities willing to take in the radioactive soil on an interim basis. And safety concerns have already been raised about the ministry’s plan to recycle the radioactive soil.

The cleanup has already collected about 16 million cubic meters of contaminated soil.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201705180051.html

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Test to recycle some screened soil from Fukushima

 

Japan’s Environment Ministry is studying the possibility of using some screened soil cleared from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear power plant accident in public works projects.

The Japanese government says, within the next 30 years, it plans to dispose of some 22 million cubic meters of soil and other waste that will be removed from the prefecture as part of the decontamination effort.

To make the job easier, the Ministry hopes to use soil with acceptable levels of radioactive material to build roads, embankments and parks.

The ministry began testing the feasibility of such projects last month at a temporary storage site in Minami Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. The process was shown to the media on Wednesday.
The experiment involves sifting the soil to remove rocks, leaves and branches, then entering it into a machine that measures the level of radioactive substances. The soil is then piled into mounds.

Ministry officials will monitor radiation levels in the air and groundwater around the mounds.

They plan to draw up guidelines for local governments and construction workers by April next year.

The ministry says it aims to use soil with up to 6,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive substances in roads and embankments, and up to 4,000 becquerels in parks.

But residents in Minami Soma have requested that for the experiment, the Ministry only use soil with up to 3,000 becquerels per kilogram.
As a result, the officials are unable to test whether soil with higher levels of contamination is safe for recycling.

The project also raises questions about the long-term monitoring of public works built with contaminated soil, and how the Ministry will win the support of people who live nearby.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170517_23/

 

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas

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Workers move big black plastic bags containing radiated soil. Fukushima prefecture, near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Soil from the Fukushima prefecture may be used as landfill for the creation of “green areas” in Japan, a government panel has proposed, facing potential public backlash over fears of exposure to residual radiation from the decontaminated earth.

The advisory panel of the Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing soil that was contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011 as part of future landfills designated for public use, Kyodo news reported

In its proposal, the environmental panel avoided openly using the word “park” and instead said “green space,” apparently to avoid a premature public outcry, Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Following an inquiry from the news outlet, the Ministry of the Environment clarified that “parks are included in the green space.”

In addition to decontaminating and recycling the tainted earth for new parks, the ministry also stressed the need to create a new organization that will be tasked with gaining public trust about the prospects of such modes of recycling.

To calm immediate public concerns, the panel said the decontaminated soil will be used away from residential areas and will be covered with a separate level of vegetation to meet government guidelines approved last year.

In June last year, the Ministry of the Environment decided to reuse contaminated soil with radioactive cesium concentration between 5,000 to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram for public works such as nationwide roads and tidal banks.

Under these guidelines, which can now be extended to be used for the parks, the tainted soil shall be covered with clean earth, concrete or other materials.

Such a landfill, the government said at the time, will not cause harm to nearby residents as they will suffer exposure less than 0.01 mSv a year after the construction is completed.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the facility, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

https://www.rt.com/news/382515-japan-recycling-fukushima-soil/#.WNoJ3cpBs98.facebook

Gov’t proposes reusing Fukushima’s decontaminated soil on green land

The Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing decontaminated soil from disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture as landfill for parks and green areas.

At a meeting of an advisory panel, the ministry also called for launching a new organization to map out plans on how to gain public understanding about the reuse of decontaminated soil, ministry officials said.

The proposals come at a time when Fukushima Prefecture faces a shortage of soil due to the decontamination work following the 2011 nuclear meltdown.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2017/03/465656.html

 

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Riken to experiment converting nuclear waste into precious metals

The government-backed Riken research institute is set to launch experiments on converting radioactive substances contained in high-level nuclear waste generated at atomic power stations into precious metals starting fiscal 2018, it has been learned.

The method, which is dubbed “modern alchemy,” is said to be theoretically viable but hasn’t been put into practical use. If realized, the formula is expected to contribute to trimming nuclear waste and even making effective use of it.

The experiment will be part of the Cabinet Office’s program to promote innovative research and development, called “Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies (ImPACT)” program. In the initial stage of the demonstration experiment, palladium-107, a radioactive material contained in nuclear waste and whose half-life is 6.5 million years, will be turned into nontoxic palladium-106, which is commonly used in dental therapy, jewelry goods and exhaust gas purification catalysts.

Using an accelerator at the Riken Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, the scientists will attempt to convert palladium-107 into palladium-106 by irradiating the former with deuteron beams, in what is called the “nuclear transformation” process. The experiment is set to be the world’s first of its kind on nuclear transformation of palladium, according to Riken officials.

The researchers will compile the outcome of the experiment as early as the fall of 2018 after confirming the ratio of palladium successfully transformed and other results.

As nuclear waste is highly radioactive, the government is currently looking into methods to isolate such waste deep into the ground after sealing it in specially designed containers. If the nuclear transformation process proves viable, it could contribute to reducing nuclear waste and making efficient use of it.

It remains to be seen whether nuclear transformation will prove successful just as in theory and if the process can be turned into practical use at a low cost. In the past, a nuclear transformation experiment was carried out on minor actinides, or “heavy” nuclear waste, at the Joyo experimental fast reactor in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, but the upcoming experiment will be the country’s first using fission products, or “light” nuclear waste.

ImPACT program manager Reiko Fujita said, “We are still at the basic research stage and are far from putting it into practical use. We will, however, move a step forward if we manage to obtain data through our experiment.”

 http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170211/p2a/00m/0na/010000c#csidxbf06aa198998809824911f3303dfcb0

February 13, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment