Govt to review candidate sites for Fukushima waste disposal
The Environment Ministry will reconsider the proposed sites of for two radioactive waste dumps, after the previous designation provoked strong resistance from local residents.
Last September, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)-led government selected Takahagi City in northern Ibaraki Prefecture and Yaita in Tochigi Prefecture as storage sites for radioactive waste from Fukushima Prefecture. Officials of both towns expressed shock and anger at the time, saying they had received no prior notice and there had been no consultation.
The plan was to transport ash from burned debris and mud removed from ditches in the no-go zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, an Environment Ministry official said. He said about 1,700 tons of waste containing radioactive cesium of over 8,000 becquerels per kilogram would be stored in the area.
However, since the decision was made, anger among local residents in both areas has increase. On Monday, Senior Vice Environment Minister Shinji Inoue admitted that there had been a problem with the selection method used by the government, TBS reported. Inoue said he had visited the prefectural government of Tochigi and the local authorities in Yaita over the weekend to inform them that the proposal had been shelved.
The decision is likely to slow recovery work in Fukushima since new storage sites will have to be found for radioactive debris.