Sludge designated radioactive waste for 1st time in Kanagawa

February 01, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The Environment Ministry has classified 2.9 tons of sludge from Kanagawa Prefecture as radioactive waste derived from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the first such designation for the prefecture on the southern border of Tokyo.

The designation, made in December, means the ministry is responsible for disposing of the radioactive sludge.

The ministry on Jan. 31 stopped short of disclosing the origins of the waste, but Yokohama city government officials said the designation covers sludge from rain collection and storage facilities at 17 municipal elementary, junior high and other schools.

The city applied for the designation of the sludge as radioactive waste in September.

The designation also included sludge collected from roadside ditches and elsewhere, for which the city had filed similar applications, the city government officials added.

Waste containing more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium, spewed from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, per kilogram is eligible for the designation.

A total of 140,000 tons had been designated by the end of 2013 from Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Kanagawa.

The Environment Ministry plans to dispose the waste within the prefecture of its origin.

The ministry plans to build final disposal sites in five prefectures, including Miyagi, where there is a dearth of storage sites.

In the other prefectures, the waste remains in limbo in temporary storage in the absence of decisions on the disposal method.

Ministry officials said the limited volume of radioactive waste from Kanagawa Prefecture means no disposal site will have to be built.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Radioactive sludge from water purification plants has been placed in temporary storage facilities in Tochigi Prefecture. (Provided by Tochigi prefectural government)

Radioactive sludge from water purification plants has been placed in temporary storage facilities in Tochigi Prefecture. (Provided by Tochigi prefectural government)

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  • Radioactive sludge from water purification plants has been placed in temporary storage facilities in Tochigi Prefecture. (Provided by Tochigi prefectural government)

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