Government tabs 3 towns as dump sites for nuclear debris

March 11, 2012

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture--Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, proposed three towns in Fukushima Prefecture as sites for temporary dumps for radioactive debris from the nuclear crisis, drawing bitter criticism from local politicians.

Hosono told the mayors of eight municipalities on March 10 that the government wants to use sites in Futaba town to the north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Okuma to its south and Naraha, which is south of the No. 2 nuclear plant, for the interim storage facilities.

Hosono told journalists that three separate dumps were being proposed because of the difficulty of securing a single site.

“We thought asking (a few) municipalities to carry the burden would make it easier to be accepted,” he said.

Good road access allowing large amounts of contaminated soil to be easily transported to the facility was also taken into account in choosing the sites.

Tatsuo Hirano, rebuilding minister, told the mayors that the government would remove contaminated soil and other waste from the prefecture within 30 years, and that legislation setting that time limit is being considered.

The government plans to make more specific proposals, including locations and other details, by the end of June. The time limit and the sites for interim storage will be finalized by the end of March 2013.

Two of the three mayors of the towns picked to host the interim storage sites were bitterly critical of the government.

Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of Futaba town, said it could not host a radioactive dump.

“I want the government to explain why we have to share the burden of accepting the proposal (to be a host site),” he told journalists.

Toshitsuna Watanabe, mayor of Okuma, described the government’s decision making as “fast and sloppy.”

Naraha Mayor Takashi Kusano, who has previously accepted the need for multiple interim facilities, said: “We cannot but cooperate with the central government, following its guidelines.”

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Goshi Hosono (Photo by Toshiyuki Matsumoto)

Goshi Hosono (Photo by Toshiyuki Matsumoto)

  • Goshi Hosono (Photo by Toshiyuki Matsumoto)

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