The Miyagi prefectural government has started started testing debris from the March 11 tsunami for radioactivity in Ishinomaki City in a bid to assure other prefectures that it is safe to store the rubble for incineration.
Officials on Saturday examined a massive mountain of rubble, said to weigh about 1.5 million tons, NHK reported Sunday. They checked the debris for cesium and other other radioactive elements.
Miyagi prefectural government officials said that all the storage areas are now full and that they need to ask other prefectures to help with disposal. Besides Ishinomaki, the Miyagi prefectural government is testing rubble in Kessenuma and Minami-Sanriku towns and will make the results public by mid-November, NHK reported.
On Friday, the Tokyo metropolitan government said that it had agreed to take 1,000 tons of mostly wood and metal debris next month from disaster-stricken Iwate Prefecture’s Miyako City and that it was also in talks with the Miyagi prefectural government to accept debris from there, too.
Officials said the debris will be measured for radiation on-site before being transported by rail to Tokyo, where it will be tested a second time, and that all test results will be fully disclosed to the public.
However, the Tokyo metropolitan government said Saturday that it had received more than 200 complaints from residents by phone, fax and on its website, opposing the decision due to fears that radioactive substances will escape into the air if contaminated debris is burned, NHK reported.