AJ201408310017MThe candidate site for an intermediate storage facility for radioactive soil and debris

spans the towns of Okuma, foreground, and Futaba, background, in Fukushima Prefecture.

Seen in the central background is the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

August 31, 2014

FUKUSHIMA–Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said on Aug. 30 that his prefecture will accept the central government’s plan to construct an intermediate storage facility in Okuma and Futaba for radioactive debris from cleanup work due to the nuclear disaster.

He made the announcement after meeting here with mayors of the two towns that are jointly hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“I made a painful decision. I decided to accept the construction,” Sato told reporters after the meeting.

Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe and Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa also said that they will accept the prefectural government’s decision, saying that they took Sato’s acceptance seriously.

The Fukushima governor plans to convey his approval to Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto on Sept. 1.

The decision is expected to advance the construction plan for the storage facility, which was first advocated by the central government several months after the nuclear plant suffered a major accident following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The central government will hold explanatory meetings with landowners of the planned construction site as early as in September. Then, it will start negotiations to acquire their land so that it can transport radioactive soil and debris to the storage facility from January.

When the facility is completed, radioactive soil and debris, which have been temporarily placed in various parts of the prefecture at present, will be transported there. This will allow the decontamination efforts to be accelerated, since local opposition to temporary storage sites has impeded the buildup of the contaminated materials.

However, of the more than 2,000 landowners who will be contacted in regards to the storage facility, some are reluctant to sell or lease their land. Therefore, the focus from now is whether they will accept the government’s offers.

Source: Asahi Shimbun