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ECONOMY > Energy

Pros, cons heard at Hokkaido meeting over radioactive waste site

  • September 27, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 10:15 a.m.
  • English Press

Kamoenai, Hokkaido, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)–Both support and opposition have been expressed by residents over their village in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido hosting a facility for final disposal of high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.


At a meeting held on Saturday in the village of Kamoenai, the Japanese industry ministry and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, or NUMO, explained to residents about issues related to a “literature” survey, the first of the three stages in the process of selecting a final disposal site for such radioactive waste, and a deep geological repository, which will be built far below the ground to keep the waste.


It was the first time for the ministry and NUMO to speak directly to Kamoenai residents about the matters since moves by the government of the village to apply for the literature survey came to be known earlier this month. About 130 residents joined the meeting, which lasted about two and a half hours from 6:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. GMT).


Officials of NUMO stressed the safety of the method to store radioactive waste deep under the ground, assuring the participants that a place near a volcano or an active fault will not be selected as a site for the repository.


Some of the participating residents showed tolerance of the village applying for the literature survey, noting that Kamoenai neighbors the village of Tomari, which hosts Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s <9509> Tomari nuclear power station.


Others voiced opposition, with one resident asking, “Is it really safe?” Some participants expressed concern about the possibility of the village being hit by unfounded rumors.


“I think residents showed some understanding,” Kamoenai Mayor Masayuki Takahashi told reporters after the meeting.


“There are various opinions,” an industry ministry official said, adding that “we will give a full explanation” at further briefing sessions.


The town of Suttsu in Hokkaido in August showed a plan to consider applying for the literature survey in the final disposal site selection process.

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