Okuma town to offer all municipal land for interim nuke waste storage site

The Okuma town office is poised to offer all municipally owned land plots in a planned interim nuclear waste storage area to the Environment Ministry for the project in a bid to help promote recovery from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The plots total about 95 hectares, or some 10% of the Okuma portion of the storage area. The site straddles the towns of Okuma and Futaba, both hosting the crippled plant. Negotiations between the ministry and local residents possessing land in the site area face tough going. Okuma town hopes to ensure an environment permitting polluted soil and other waste from cleanup work to be carried into the site as much as possible before residents begin to return home permanently. The town expects to show the land offer plan to the municipal assembly as soon as September and then explain it to townspeople now evacuated elsewhere. Among the land plots to be offered to the ministry are schoolyards, including a 1-hectare tract inside “Fureai Park Okuma” sport facility, as well as community halls and municipal housing, all scattered in the town. Each plot is a sizable area likely to be considered by the ministry as a possible tract for sorting out polluted waste and building facilities associated with R&D on decontamination. The ministry plans to purchase the municipal land to be offered, but the town has yet to decide what to do with the property as there is another option – leasing it to the ministry and then reusing it after the interim storage project is finished. The planned land offer is to be proposed at a meeting of all assembly members after a regular assembly session in September is closed. The town will seek residents’ understanding of the plan at meetings on municipal affairs scheduled for this fall and on other occasions. (Translated by Kyodo News)