An agency affiliated with the Japanese government is to study the possibility of burying nuclear waste at a depth of about 5,000 meters. That’s much deeper than proposed in the government’s current plan.
Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, will carry out a basic survey for the new disposal option after next April.
The survey will be conducted at Minamitorishima, a remote island above the geologically stable Pacific Plate.
JAMSTEC says it will use a research vessel to collect data on the topography and geology of the area.
No technology exists to bury nuclear waste 5,000 meters below ground as there are many technical challenges.
The Japanese government has been planning to bury high-level radioactive waste from nuclear plants at a depth of more than 300 meters in final disposal facilities. Officials are currently looking for candidate sites.
Nagasaki University Professor Tatsujiro Suzuki is a former member of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission. He says it is too soon to discuss a technology that has yet to be developed, but he thinks basic research by the agency could help to create more options.