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Government's promises

May 27, 2014

Gov't to dispose of contaminated soil outside Fukushima within 30 years



The government has decided to state clearly that a government-owned company will dispose of contaminated soil outside Fukushima Prefecture within 30 years after keeping it in temporary storage facilities in the prefecture.

The government will revise laws related to the Japan Environmental Safety Corporation (JESCO) to make clear that it will commission its wholly-owned special company to operate temporary storage facilities to be built in Fukushima Prefecture and eventually dispose of the soil permanently outside the prefecture within 30 years. The contaminated soil has been produced in the process of decontamination work in the wake of the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara met and conveyed the decision to mayors and other officials of the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Okuma and Futaba -- candidate sites for temporary storage facilities -- in Koriyama in the prefecture on the morning of May 27. The government wants to secure understanding about the decision from local residents at briefing sessions due to start on May 31 by showing compensation plans for land owners.

With respect to temporary storage facilities, the Fukushima Prefectural Government had strongly demanded that the central government stipulate by law that contaminated soil will be permanently disposed of outside Fukushima Prefecture. JESCO has been engaged in detoxifying and treating polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste since 2004. The Ministry of the Environment plans to clarify its responsibility and submit to the Diet revised legislation designed to commission JESCO to operate temporary storage facilities for up to 30 years on condition that the Fukushima municipalities accept the construction and operation of temporary storage facilities there.

Under the compensation scheme, meanwhile, the government will evaluate tracts of land located in candidate sites for temporary storage facilities that are designated as difficult-to-return zones as plots of land that can be used after evacuation orders are lifted and the communities are restored. Government officials say that those tracts of land will be evaluated more highly than those evaluated as being unusable at all.

The government will also calculate amounts of compensation for houses on the assumption that similar buildings will be constructed in the future. As for furniture, cemeteries, shrines and temples, in addition to relocation expenses the government will shoulder the costs of storing them until the lifting of evacuation orders as well as memorial service fees as a result of reburying the remains of local residents.

As for cemeteries in particular, the government will consider building new ones at alternative sites in line with requests from local residents after securing cooperation from local municipalities. These measures will be handled separately from damage compensation being offered by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power station.

May 27, 2014(Mainichi Japan)


May 27, 2014


Ishihara seeks cooperation for nuclear waste sites



The government is seeking cooperation from 2 towns in Fukushima Prefecture to build intermediate storage facilities for waste material from decontamination work in the prefecture.

The towns of Futaba and Okuma are located near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

On Tuesday, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara met the mayors of the towns ahead of scheduled public briefings for residents.

Ishihara said the coming meetings will be important occasions and that he will work to gain public understanding for the planned facilities.

Ishihara referred to requests by Fukushima Prefecture and other local authorities to establish legal measures that require removal of the waste from the prefecture within 30 years. The waste would be moved to final disposal sites.

He said the government will draw up legislation that establishes a state corporation to manage the facilities and fulfill their requests.

The minister also said opinions of local residents would be taken into account when deciding how the area would be used after the facilities are dismantled. He promised the plans would be part of the region's recovery and development.

After the meeting, Ishihara told reporters the government will study ways to develop the local economy and rebuild lives and then present its findings to the affected communities.

Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa said the public briefings will not be an occasion for local residents to say yes or no to the plans. He says he expects progress to depend on how the government responds to the feedback.

The government hopes to begin shipping nuclear waste to the towns in January of next year.

May 27, 2014 - Updated 07:34 UTC



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