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Hokkaido village eyes hosting radioactive waste disposal site

  • September 11, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 6:52 p.m.
  • English Press

Kamoenai, Hokkaido, Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)–The village of Kamoenai in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, is considering hosting a final disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste, it was learned Friday.

The village is looking at applying for a literary survey, the first of three stages in the research process to select the location of a final disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

Kamoenai is the second municipality in Japan to be contemplating the process since the government published areas suitable for nuclear waste disposal in its Nationwide Map of Scientific Features for Geological Disposal in 2017. The town of Suttsu, also in Hokkaido, was the first.

According to the village assembly, the local chamber of commerce submitted a petition on Tuesday calling for progress in measures for literary survey. The assembly is expected to discuss the petition at its regular September session from Tuesday to Thursday.

Kamoenai Mayor Masayuki Takahashi stopped short of describing the petition, telling a news conference at the village office that he “can’t say at the moment anything that may affect deliberations at the assembly.”

The petition met almost no opposition at an extraordinary general meeting of the chamber of commerce before the submission, according to sources linked to the chamber.

“As a municipality neighboring a nuclear power plant, it’s natural (for us) to take the first step forward in discussions,” a male member of the chamber said.

The village, located in western Hokkaido, faces the Sea of Japan and neighbors the village of Tomari, which hosts a nuclear power plant run by Hokkaido Electric Power Co. <9509>. The plant is currently offline.

According to the government map, almost all of Kamoenai except for some southern areas is unsuitable for waste disposal.

Procedures to select a host for a final disposal site are conducted in three stages, comprising a “literary” survey of related documents, a “preliminary” investigation and a “detailed” investigation. A municipality undergoing a literary survey can receive subsidies of up to 2 billion yen from the central government.

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