FUKUSHIMA – An estimated 300,000 cubic meters of waste will be generated as a result of radioactive decontamination work in a suspended section of East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line in Fukushima Prefecture, Jiji Press learned Saturday.
Decontamination work is going on to restore train services in the section between Namie and Tatsuta, both in the nuclear disaster-hit northeastern prefecture, by spring 2020. But how to secure enough space to temporarily keep such waste, including soil, is a difficult question.
Due to the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power station, the Joban Line is still suspended between Hamayoshida, in the Miyagi Prefecture town of Watari, and Soma, in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as between Odaka, in the Fukushima town of Minamisoma, and Tatsuta, in the Fukushima town of Naraha.
The Hamayoshida-Soma section is scheduled to reopen in December this year and part of the Odaka-Tatsuta section, between Odaka and Namie, in spring 2017. Ahead of the reopening, work there to replace stones under rail tracks and soil and cut trees and grass along the tracks has almost finished.
In the remaining Namie-Tatsuta portion, decontamination work is proceeding so that train services will be resumed between Tomioka, also in Fukushima Prefecture, and Tatsuta in 2017. Decontamination work is also taking place between Namie and Tomioka, a portion that runs through the heavily contaminated no-go zone so services can be resumed by the spring of 2020.
Currently, bags filled with decontamination waste are stored along the rail tracks. They must be transferred elsewhere before restoration work starts.
The Environment Ministry has started negotiations with owners of land near the railway line. The ministry has already obtained agreement from some owners on the use of land.
But it is still difficult to secure enough land to store 300,000 cubic meters of waste.
The ministry is also considering utilizing locations where radioactive waste from decontamination work across Fukushima Prefecture is currently being kept. The places will become available after the waste is transferred to an interim waste storage complex near the Fukushima power plant.