Fukushima governor shows revised plan on locating contaminated soil storage sites

Governor Yuhei Sato of Fukushima Prefecture met with the mayors of eight municipalities in Futaba County on Feb. 7 to brief them on a revised plan for the locations of sites for temporarily storing contaminated soil and other debris caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Under the new plan, Naraha Town will be removed from a list of candidate storage sites, which will be limited to Okuma and Futaba towns. In addition, a facility will be constructed in Naraha to dispose of burned ash containing radioactive substances exceeding 8,000 becquerels and not more than 100,000 becquerels of radiation per kilogram. The disposal facility will solidify incineration ash generated in the prefecture with cement. After disposal, cemented ash will be moved to the existing facility in Tomioka Town for final burial. It will not be buried at the site of the disposal facility. The location of the disposal facility in Naraha has yet to be fixed. An earlier central government plan called for the disposal facility to be built at the same location as the burial site in Tomioka. But the prefectural government has concluded that this plan is not acceptable because the Tomioka site is too small in space to ensure safe work and that a new disposal site should be found elsewhere. Naraha has been shortlisted for the disposal facility because trucks carrying contaminated debris will run through the town on their way to the planned storage sites, according to prefectural government officials. The revised plan appears to be based on the perception that the burden of accepting facilities should be shared in a balanced manner among the towns involved.