February 06, 2023
The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has spread an enormous amount of radioactive materials. Contaminated soil from the decontamination process in Fukushima Prefecture was delivered to an interim storage facility built by crushing farmland, forests, and residential areas in the towns of Futaba and Okuma. Nearly eight years have passed since operations began. The delivery, processing, and storage of the contaminated soil is now in its final stages, and the processing plants are being dismantled one after another, and hills made of the contaminated soil are appearing in various places. (Takeshi Yamakawa and Natsuko Katayama)

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has spread an enormous amount of radioactive materials. Contaminated soil and other materials were stripped and collected from all over Fukushima prefecture into an interim storage facility built near the plant. The 1,600 hectares of land is turning into hills of contaminated soil. See the latest situation here.

A group of facilities on the Okuma side. Storage facilities, which look like open-pit mines, are being filled with contaminated soil one after another.

Futaba Town side. This side still has storage capacity. In the back is the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Treatment plant. Large sandbags filled with contaminated soil are broken and sifted. Stones and roots are removed.

Contaminated soil, which has been cleaned by the addition of a moisture-absorbing amendment, is transported by conveyor to a storage pit. Heavy equipment levels the soil.

The storage facilities are all huge. On the right side is the area where the storage continues. On the left side, contaminated soil has been piled up to 5 meters underground and 10 meters above the ground, and the soil has been shielded, covered, and covered with grass seeds to keep the soil in place. When the site reaches capacity, hills like this will appear in various locations.

On the Futaba Town side, there is a huge volume reduction and storage facility for highly contaminated materials. Roots and branches are also generated in large quantities during decontamination. They are burned at temporary incineration plants in various locations, and the ashes are burned at this facility at a high temperature of about 1,700 degrees Celsius. Radioactivity-enriched dust (around 300,000 becquerels per 1,000,000 tons) is packed in steel containers and stored in a dedicated facility.

Within the volume reduction facility is an incinerator that reduces the volume of ash. The ash is burned at 1,700 degrees Celsius.

Highly concentrated (about 300,000 becquerels/kg) dust separated from the burned ash is stored for a long time in this way.

Contaminated soil treatment plants that have finished processing are being dismantled, sorted into smaller pieces, and sold as scrap iron.