Residents OK temporary storage space in Odaka area

The Environment Ministry has obtained the approval of residents in the Odaka district regarding its plan to set up a temporary storage yard in the Oya area for soil and other radioactivity-contaminated materials resulting from a government-run decontamination project under way in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, in the wake of the nuclear power plant disaster. The storage facility, the largest in the district, will cover about 40% of the entire decontamination area and 55% of the Odaka district. The approval is expected to help accelerate decontamination work ahead of the return home of evacuees. The Oya temporary storage site is to sit on a tract of paddy fields stretching about 50 hectares and straddling four areas of the Odaka district -- Oya, Katakusa, Kita-happara and Minami-happara. It will accept contaminated soil from eight other areas in the district -- Hansaki, Koyagi, Uwanezawa, Yoshina, Odaka, Okada, Oi and Tsukabara -- and the district's central zone in addition to the four areas where the facility will be located. The ministry will develop the storage site after concluding contracts with relevant landowners. It has secured nine land lots totaling 75 hectares, including the Oya facility, or about 65% of the land needed in the city to store contaminated soil removed under the government project.