Gov’t to move radioactive waste from 5 Fukushima schools to interim storage site during summer holidays

The Environment Ministry announced on June 25 that some of the radioactive waste resulting from decontamination work following the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, currently stored temporarily within the compounds of five elementary schools in Fukushima Prefecture, will be moved to an interim storage facility under a pilot program starting in July, when pupils will be off for summer holidays. To be covered by the program are packs of waste kept in the premises of three schools in the city of Koriyama and one school each in the towns of Tanagura and Asakawa. The three local governments have requested that priority be given to removing the waste from the elementary schools to ease schoolchildren’s concerns. The ministry is working with other parties concerned to secure transportation routes and map out safety measures, among other things. The elementary schools involved in the project are Kaoru Elementary School, Asaka Daini Elementary School and Takakura Elementary School in Koriyama, Yashirogawa Elementary School in Tanagura, and Yamashiraishi Elementary School in Asakawa. At the three Koriyama schools, waste including surface soil dug up from its schoolyard during decontamination is wrapped in shielding sheets and buried in the yard. Meanwhile, the schools in Tanagura and Asakawa have schoolyard surface soil and other materials kept in bags behind school buildings or other places in the campus. A total of about 3,000 cubic meters of waste is expected to be transported from the five schools. The ministry plans to begin the transportation from around late July and to complete the operation before the new school term starts at the end of August.