中間貯蔵施設 「2町集約」で早期完成目指せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 08, 2014
Construct facilities to store N-waste to get decontamination work on track
中間貯蔵施設 「2町集約」で早期完成目指せ(3月8日付・読売社説)

Constructing interim facilities for the bulk storage of radioactive waste is key to quickly pushing forward with the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture.

It is indispensable for the Environment Ministry to give thorough explanations to local residents about why such facilities are needed and what kinds of safety measures will be taken, and finish building the storage sites as soon as possible.

The facilities will store soil contaminated by the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and ash from burning contaminated items. They will accommodate enough waste to fill Tokyo Dome more than 20 times. The government has decided to procure ¥1.1 trillion in construction costs from part of revenues from the promotion of power-resource development tax.

Contaminated soil removed during decontamination work and other waste is now being stored at temporary sites at municipalities across the prefecture. As there has been no progress in the plan to construct the facilities, contaminated waste is stuck at the temporary sites. In addition, such sites are in short supply.

As the things stand now, the vicious cycle in which the shortage of storage sites is suspending decontamination work cannot be broken.

Last December, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara asked that the three towns of Futaba, Okuma and Naraha, which are located close to the crippled nuclear power plant, host the storage facilities. Under the proposal, the state would purchase a total of 19 square kilometers of land tracts for the facilities.

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato consulted with the three towns and other parties concerned last month, and asked Ishihara to drop Naraha from the list and make Futaba and Okuma the only candidate sites for construction.

Naraha’s airborne radioactive material readings have been lower than those of Futaba and Okuma, which has raised the prospect of evacuated residents making an early return. It is therefore understandable that Naraha residents do not want to have a large facility storing high-level radioactive waste in their town.

Encouraging residents’ return

Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto, while giving thoughtful consideration to the other two towns, has commented that if the town is excluded from the list of candidate sites, it will likely increase the number of evacuated residents who want to return.

Accepting such facilities would likely be an agonizing choice for Futaba and Okuma, where there are currently no prospects of allowing their residents to return, made to facilitate the reconstruction of the prefecture as a whole.

Aiming to start sending radioactive waste to the new facilities in January 2015, the Environment Ministry plans to present a new construction plan to the prefectural government. It is hoped that narrowing down the candidates to the two towns will break the impasse.

The government plans to propose regional promotion measures for Futaba and Okuma. What kinds of promotion measures will be effective for the towns, where contamination makes it difficult for residents to return? It is essential for the government to grasp the needs of evacuated residents and provide them with finely tuned support.

The interim storage sites are to operate for up to 30 years. On final disposal sites beyond that, the government said it intends to build them outside the prefecture, but there are no prospects for such sites.

Residents of the candidate sites for the interim facilities continue to suspect that the sites will eventually be used for final disposal facilities. The government must take the lead in working to select final disposal sites.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 8, 2014)
(2014年3月8日02時02分 読売新聞)


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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