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Japan to revise export law to send radioactive waste to foreign countries for disposal

  • August 7, 2021
  • , Asahi, Mainichi, Nikkei
  • JMH Summary

The Saturday editions of Asahi, Mainichi, and Nikkei wrote that the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is planning to revise Japan’s Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law to allow the nation to export low-level radioactive waste generated by decommissioned nuclear reactors. According to the ministry, Japan has decided to decommission 24 reactors at 11 nuclear power plants and most of the decommissioning work will start in the mid-2020s. However, some of the equipment at the reactors is too large to be disposed of at facilities in Japan. International rules on the disposal of radioactive waste stipulate that nations generating nuclear waste must dispose of it in their own countries in principle, and Japan’s Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law does not allow the nation to export such waste to foreign countries. However, it is possible to ask other nations to dispose of the waste if those nations agree to do so. Mainichi wrote that the United States and Sweden accept such large equipment for disposal, and Nikkei speculated that Japan is considering exporting such waste to the United States.

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