Official storage of contaminated soil begins in Fukushima
Contaminated soil produced during cleanup in communities affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is carried on belt-conveyers covered with plastic sheets at an interim storage site in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 28.
OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Hailed by the government as a major step to rebuilding, radioactive soil from the cleanup of municipalities impacted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began arriving at an interim storage site here on Oct. 28.
However, officials and residents with the towns of Okuma and Futaba fear the repository may end up being permanent as finding a final resting place outside Fukushima Prefecture is expected to be extremely difficult.
Still, local governments welcomed the start since rebuilding has been hampered by the countless number of bags containing polluted soil that have been kept in backyards.
“We are hoping to remove as many bags of contaminated soil as possible from people’s living spaces,” said Tadahiko Ito, vice environment minister who inspected the site on Oct. 28.
All the soil there is supposed to be taken out of the prefecture by March 2045 for final disposal under the law.
The repository began operating at the site, where soil from low-level pollution will be kept after being brought in via a belt-conveyor system. Bulldozers will afterward flatten the surface.
After a certain amount of soil is brought in, the ground will be covered with uncontaminated soil. The site can hold about 50,000 cubic meters of soil, according to the Environment Ministry, which oversees the project.
The ministry began building the interim storage facility about a year ago. As of the end of September, contracts had been signed for about 40 percent of the 1,600 hectares of land needed for storage in Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
A total of seven facilities will be built to keep polluted soil.
The ministry also plans to complete two facilities to store more radioactive waste in fiscal 2019.
Overall construction costs are estimated at 1.1 trillion yen ($9.67 billion) for all the interim storage facilities.
They can store up to 22 million cubic meters of soil and other waste.
According to the ministry, about 15.2 million cubic meters of contaminated soil from decontamination work are piled up or buried at about 150,000 location in Fukushima Prefecture, including plots near houses and schoolyards.
The ministry envisages moving 12.5 million cubic meters of the total to the interim sites by the end of March 2021.
Sprawling radioactive waste storage facility opens for business in Fukushima
A new facility in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, starts storing radioactive waste generated by the 2011 nuclear crisis on Saturday.
The government’s new radioactive waste storage facility in Fukushima Prefecture kicked into full gear on Saturday after completing a roughly four-month trial run.
While the facility near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex is designed to store soil and other tainted waste collected during decontamination work for up to 30 years, it remains only half complete six years after the triple core meltdown struck in March 2011.
An estimated 22 million cu. meters of contaminated waste exists in Fukushima, but the facility does not yet have enough capacity to store it all, and residents fear it will sit there permanently in the absence of a final disposal site.
The government has been able to buy only 40 percent of the land so far but eventually plans to secure 1,600 hectares for the facility, which is expected to generate ¥1.6 trillion ($14.1 billion) in construction and related costs.
The storage facility is urgently needed to consolidate the 13 million cu. meters of radioactive waste scattered around the prefecture. The prolonged disposal work, among other concerns, is said to be keeping residents away from their hometowns even when the evacuation orders are lifted.
Also on Saturday, the government began full operation of a facility where waste intended for incineration, such as trees and plants, is separated from the rest.
Contaminated soil is sorted into different categories depending on cesium level before storage.
Work to store tainted soil at Fukushima facility begins
Tainted soil is brought into an interim storage facility for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday.
FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — The Environment Ministry started Saturday bringing tainted soil to one of its interim storage facilities for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture.
Soil generated from work to decontaminate areas hit by fallout from the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s disaster-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has temporarily been piled up in about 1,100 places within the prefecture.
Shifting the soil and other radioactive waste to the storage facilities, to be finally built on a 1,600-hectare site straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba, is expected to make it smoother to reconstruct areas devastated by the nuclear accident as well as the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident.
On Sunday, 36 cubic meters of contaminated soil arrived at the facility from a temporary storage in Okuma.
“I hope all tainted soil and other waste will be removed from living spheres in the prefecture as soon as possible,” State Environment Minister Tadahiko Ito told reporters after watching the work.
But over 60 percent of the overall construction site remained to be acquired as of the end of September, and facilities to burn plant waste and store ashes with high cesium levels have yet to be built.
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