Tochigi town residents rally against selection as candidate site for final disposal of radiation-tainted waste

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UTSUNOMIYA – About 2,700 residents of Shioya, Tochigi Prefecture, gathered Saturday to oppose the central government’s choice of the town as a candidate site for the final disposal of some of the radiation-tainted waste resulting from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The residents adopted a resolution urging the plan be scrapped. Among those taking part was Mayor Hirobumi Inomata from Kami, another candidate site in Miyagi Prefecture.

In Tochigi Prefecture, designated waste that contains more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram is currently stored at about 170 different locations on a temporary basis.

For final disposal, the Environment Ministry selected state-owned land in Shioya at the end of July, but the plan has since met strong local opposition.

In 2012, another city in Tochigi Prefecture, Yaita, which borders Shioya, was selected as a candidate site for final waste disposal. However, the government was later forced to reconsider the decision due to fierce local opposition.

The state is planing to build landfill facilities for final disposal in five prefectures — Tochigi, Miyagi, Chiba, Gunma and Ibaraki prefectures — which lack the capacity to dispose of such waste at existing facilities.

In a related move Friday, three nuclear plant makers denied responsibility for the March 2011 Fukushima meltdown at the first hearing on a lawsuit seeking damages from the companies.

Representatives from Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and General Electric Co. sought to dismiss the damage claims in Tokyo District Court.

The claims were lodged by about 1,400 people in Japan, including Fukushima residents, and 2,400 people from other places with nuclear plants, such as South Korea and Taiwan.

According to the plaintiffs, the plant makers insisted they have no obligation to compensate for damage from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, referring to the law on nuclear damage compensation, which stipulates that only power suppliers have responsibilities for nuclear accidents.

The plaintiffs claim that the law, which gives nuclear plant makers immunity from compensation claims, violates the Constitution and therefore is invalid. Under the product liability law and other laws, they are demanding payment of ¥100 each.

Meeting with the press after speaking in court, Kazue Morizono, a 53-year-old resident of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, said she hopes the lawsuit will clarify responsibility for the nuclear accident.

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/29/national/plant-makers-deny-responsibility-court-fukushima-nuclear-accident/#.VeHRspeFSM9

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Fukushima Fallout: Not In My Backyard

A rural community in eastern Japan opposes a government project to build a storage facility for radioactive waste generated by the Fukushima disaster.

Source: Nippon TV News 24

http://www.ntv.co.jp/englishnews/fukushima-update/fukushima_update_73fukushima_fallout_not_in_my_backyard/

Radiated Fukushima Prefecture soil disposal facility to be nationalized

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FUKUSHIMA – Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki told Fukushima Prefecture leaders Friday that the central government plans to nationalize a private facility intended for the disposal of relatively low radioactive waste in the prefecture.
In a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori and others, Mochizuki also said the government plans to launch a new subsidy program for revising the local economy.
The ministry was to utilize the facility, which handles industrial waste, for the final disposal of such radioactive waste under an outsourcing contract, but it accepted the local demand for the nationalization.
Uchibori said in the meeting that he welcomes the ministry’s policy.
Koichi Miyamoto, mayor of the town of Tomioka where the facility is located, was understanding of the ministry’s move.
The facility will be used for the final disposal of waste tainted with radioactive materials released from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
It will accept waste with radioactivity levels of up to 100,000 becquerels per kilogram.
Waste and soil with higher radioactivity levels are to be kept at an interim storage facility, which will be constructed at a site straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba.
Source : Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/06/national/radiated-fukushima-prefecture-soil-disposal-facility-to-be-nationalized/#.VXPAaUZZNBS

2 Fukushima waste storage sites to be built

Japan’s environment ministry will soon start building two more temporary stockyards to store radioactive waste from decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture. A nuclear accident took place there in 2011.

The stockyards are facilities to temporarily store contaminated soil and other waste before it goes to a main storage facility that has yet to be built.

The ministry already has two such stockyards in the region of Futaba and Okuma towns. The two towns host the damaged nuclear plant. The stockyards can store 20,000 cubic meters of waste.

With the two new stockyards to be built in the same region, the ministry has now nearly secured enough land to carry out its plan to transfer more than 40,000 cubic meters of waste gathered from 43 municipalities in the prefecture in a year.

Work to transfer radioactive waste to the existing stockyards began in March. But the ministry has only transferred 3,000 cubic meters of waste. That’s less than a tenth of the planned annual total amount.

As for the entire site of the main storage facility planned for the same area, the Environment Ministry faces the challenge of negotiating with more than 2,300 landowners. Only a few have so far agreed to sell their land.

The planned main storage facility is for intermediate storage until a site is secured for final disposal. Legislation obliges the government to ensure the waste stored in the main storage facility is moved to a final disposal site outside Fukushima Prefecture within 30 years.

Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150604_23.html

Opponents of nuclear waste site hold symposium to counter gov’t forum on same day

Residents attend a symposium on opposition to a plan to build a radioactive waste site in Shioya, Tochigi Prefecture, on May 14, 2015. (Mainichi)
UTSUNOMIYA — While the Environment Ministry held a forum here on the night of May 14 on building disposal sites for radioactive waste and other debris caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, opponents of one candidate site held a large-scale symposium in Shioya.
The ministry held the forum in the prefectural capital in connection with plans to build disposal sites in Tochigi and four other prefectures. Meanwhile, the opponents held the symposium in Shioya, about 22 kilometers away from Utsunomiya, under the theme of local natural riches.
About 180 people attended the Environment Ministry’s forum, the second in a series that began in April in Sendai. Officials in charge of designated radioactive waste briefed the participants on the disposal scheme and sought their understanding for constructing a disposal site in the prefecture. Some of the participants made remarks such as, “If it’s so safe, build it in Tokyo,” and, “We can’t trust the central government because it covers up bad data.”
The Environment Ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun that it held the forum — designed to win understanding from Tochigi prefectural residents — in Utsunomiya rather than Shioya because transportation in the prefectural capital was more convenient, allowing more people to attend.
The symposium in Shioya, organized by a coalition of groups opposed to the proposed disposal site, drew about 1,100 people. Its venue, a high school gym, was packed with local residents and about 200 people watched the event on an outdoor screen. The participants confirmed their resolve to protect the local environment. A 72-year-old man said, “The Environment Ministry’s forum is an event only for convenient explanations. If we participate, we will be counted as supporters.”

Source: Mainichi
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150515p2a00m0na006000c.html

Land secured in Fukushima opens door for 1st shipment of radioactive waste

gglmkmùPreparatory work to build an interim storage site for radioactive waste is under way at the Okuma east industrial park (front) in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 3. The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant stands in the background.

February 04, 2015

The government has begun prep work on a parcel of land near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to receive its first delivery of radioactive debris from decontamination work in the area.

The Environment Ministry began the work for the interim storage site on Feb. 3, following its announcement last month that it had secured 60,000 square meters of land in industrial parks in the towns of Okuma and Futaba as a first step.

The move comes as companies owning large lots of land in the industrial parks are ready to sell their plots for the storage project.

While the plots owned by the companies account for just 2 percent of the total land needed to build storage site in Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the plant, the move will allow the government to begin shipping tainted debris by its target of March 11, the fourth anniversary of the nuclear disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The ministry plans to transfer 43,000 cubic meters of radioactive soil and other debris stored at 43 localities in the prefecture over a year on a trial basis.

The secured plots take up about 70 percent of the Futaba industrial park and Okuma east industrial park’s combined 440,000 square meters of land.

The Asahi Shimbun found that eight of the 13 companies that own property in the parks are willing to sell their land to the government and have already notified the appropriate officials of their decision.

Most of the companies are in the pharmaceutical and machinery industries and based in Tokyo.

“We doubt products we make here will sell anyway, even if we can someday resume operations,” said an official with a company that owns a factory in the Okuma park, referring to its decision to sell off the land. “We are afraid that (radiation-related) fears about products and produce from this area will linger.”

An official with a company in the Futaba park that also agreed to sell its land said: “We set up the factory about 20 years ago and hired many residents. We are more than happy to offer our land to help rebuild the local area.”

Residents of the two towns, where radiation levels remain high, continue to live outside the area after it was evacuated following the outbreak nuclear crisis.

Plots in the industrial parks were among the ministry’s first targets for the interim storage site. It is expected to be easier to start building the site on these plots because they house fewer buildings compared with other land.

Still, the ministry expects a prolonged battle to secure the 16 square kilometers needed for the storage site. “It will take a very long time,” said a senior ministry official.

The storage facility to be built in the towns will be designed to hold radioactive waste for up to 30 years.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201502040078

Construction of a radioactive waste storage complex in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma to start

map of daiichi okuma futaba

Jan. 29, 2015

Japan’s environment ministry plans to soon start building initial facilities for storing radioactive waste stemming from decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan.

They are part of the intermediate storage complex to be built in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma.

The government earlier planned to start moving the waste to the site by the end of this month. But it canceled the plan due to delays in purchasing land and building facilities.

The government now plans to start the transport by March 11th, the 4th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear accident in 2011.
The ministry says construction of 2 initial storage facilities, each 10,000 square kilometers, will start next Tuesday at industrial parks in the intermediate site.

The waste is to be kept there until intermediate storage facilities are completed. It remains unclear when their construction will begin, due to lack of progress in purchasing land.

Huge amounts of radioactive soil and other waste stemming from decontamination work have been kept in each municipality of the prefecture.

Municipalities are asking the government to provide a concrete schedule for transporting the waste.

Source:NHK