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Fukushima radioactive waste storage starts full operation

  • October 28, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 6:26 p.m.
  • English Press

The government Saturday started full operation of its Fukushima facility to store radioactive waste resulting from the 2011 nuclear disaster after running it on a trial basis for about four months.


While the facility near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is designed to store contaminated soil and other waste, collected in decontamination work in the eastern Japan prefecture, for up to 30 years, the storage is only half completed over six years after the disaster.


An estimated 22 million cubic meters of contaminated waste exists in Fukushima, but the facility does not yet have enough capacity to accept all of it, and local residents fear the waste will sit there permanently in the absence of a final disposal site.


The government plans to secure a total of 1,600 hectares of land for the facility, expecting 1.6 trillion yen ($14.1 billion) in construction and related costs.


It has been able to buy only 40 percent of land needed for the storage from land owners so far.


Still, completion of the storage is urgently needed when 13 million cubic meters of waste from cleanup work is scattered around the prefecture and waiting to be transported to the storage facility. Prolonged disposal work, among other concerns, is also said to be keeping evacuated residents from returning to Fukushima even after evacuation orders are lifted.


On Saturday, the government started full-fledged operation of the facility where waste for incineration such as trees and plants are removed from the rest.


Contaminated soil is sorted into different categories depending on the level of radioactive cesium before storage.



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