Incinerators go into full operation to dispose of disaster debris from Soma, Shinchi

Temporary incinerators went into full operation on Feb. 20 to dispose of disaster debris produced in the city of Soma and the town of Shinchi, both in Fukushima Prefecture. A ceremony was held on the same day to mark the start of the full operation of the facility which was built in the Koyo district of Soma. The Environment Ministry built the facility to dispose of the debris produced in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster that severely impacted northeastern Japan. Three incinerators were set up at the site to dispose of an estimated 170,000 tons of debris by the March 31, 2014 end of fiscal 2013. It is the first of a series of similar facilities to be built by the central government to dispose of disaster debris on behalf of local governments under the 2011 special legislation on the disposal of disaster debris. The Environment Ministry built the facility in response to requests from the municipal governments of Soma and Shinchi. The three incinerators are capable of disposing of about 570 tons a day of inflammable materials, such as wooden wastes generated by the temblor and tsunami, and remnants of wrecked houses. Incinerator construction and operating costs are estimated at about 4 billion yen in fiscal 2012, ending March 31 this year. The central government will finally dispose of the incineration ashes after they were sent to temporary storage sites in Soma and Shinchi. The Soma city government has already secured the temporary storage site. The Shinchi municipal government is currently in the process of selecting the temporary storage site. The Environment Ministry said the dosages of radiation contained in the incinerated ashes were found to have fallen below the state-designated standard at the time of test incineration. The ministry said it would continue measuring the dosages of radiation in the ashes and publicize the data. In addition to Soma and Shinchi, the town of Hirono and the city of Minamisoma plan to ask the central government to dispose of disaster debris on their behalf. The central government will take responsibility for disposing of disaster debris left in no-go zones designated in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

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