Suttsu, Hokkaido, Oct. 26 (Jiji Press)–The victory of Suttsu Mayor Haruo Kataoka in Tuesday’s election means that the ongoing first-stage survey for the possible hosting of a permanent underground storage for high-level radioactive waste will continue in the northern Japan town.
The outlook for next steps of research to select such a dump site is uncertain, however, as a referendum is planned in Suttsu to decide whether the town should move to the second-stage survey and Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki is opposed to the selection process in the prefecture.
The first-stage survey, known as literature investigation, is a project lasting about two years to review geological records and data. The survey, which started in Suttsu in November last year for the first time in Japan, will continue until autumn next year.
The second stage, called preliminary investigation, is a drilling survey to examine geological layers.
Kataoka, who applied for the first-stage survey last year, has expressed the town government’s willingness to accept the second-stage survey, saying it can determine the safety of the ground in the town.
But it is not easy to form a consensus for the drilling survey.
“The referendum, not the mayoral election, should be the opportunity to express myself,” one resident said. Kataoka has made it clear that he will respect the outcome of the referendum.
Even if townspeople support a shift to the second-stage survey in the referendum, objection by the prefectural governor will block the move.
Hokkaido Governor Suzuki has opposed the three-stage research, in line with a prefectural ordinance stating that it is difficult to accept nuclear waste.”
Municipalities surrounding Suttsu have also enacted ordinances to reject the entry of nuclear waste.