Gov’t nuke waste disposal plan eyes transfer completion in FY 2022

The Environment Ministry has drafted a roadmap for disposing of “specified” nuclear waste stemming from the 2011 nuclear accident at a government-run facility in Tomioka town near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Under the plan made available on May 12, the ministry will seek to launch waste transfer to the Fukushima Ecotech Clean Center, where waste is to be buried underground, in the latter half of fiscal 2016 ending next March and complete it within fiscal 2022 on condition that local authorities approve of the plan. Subject to disposal will be an estimated total of 730,000 tons of incinerated ash, disaster debris and other “specified waste” relatively highly contaminated by nuclear fallout from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant. The ministry is poised to seek understanding from local residents about the plan by strengthening safety measures. The roadmap calls for ash from burned debris and sewage sludge to be packed into tightly sealed specially designated containers, starting in the second half of fiscal 2016. Such waste is to be transferred to the Tomioka landfill site, giving priority to waste from incineration facilities and temporary storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture keeping large amounts of specified waste. Fly ash and other waste relatively highly polluted with radioactive materials will be transferred initially from fiscal 2017 to a waste solidification facility to be built in Naraha town adjacent to Tomioka. Waste is to be solidified with cement to prevent radioactive materials from seeping out before being transported to the disposal site. If work progresses as planned, waste transfer to the Tomioka facility is expected to be completed by March 2023. (Translated by Kyodo News)