With nobody wanting to give it a permanent home, a large amount of waste contaminated with radioactive materials due to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has remained in eastern Japan.
By last December the Environment Ministry had ruled that a total of about 140,000 tons of waste fell into the category of “designated waste” in 11 prefectures and Tokyo. The central government is responsible for the final disposal of designated waste, including rice straw and sludge, which is contaminated with more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactivity per kilogram.
It plans to set up five final disposal sites for the tonnage–one each in five prefectures.
However, the locations have yet to be decided. Because of that, the designated waste is currently being held in temporary storage sites, causing dissatisfaction among residents living around it.
On March 27, an executive of the Miyagi prefectural government visited an explanatory briefing in the Tsukidate district of Kurihara in the prefecture and apologized to residents there.
A total of about 930 tons of contaminated rice straw, including one that has yet to be officially designated as such, are currently being kept in five temporary storage sites in Kurihara. However, the two-year storage periods for the five sites, promised by the Miyagi prefectural government and the Kurihara city government, will start expiring from May.
“The schedule to find a final disposal site is delayed. We cannot keep the promise that we will close the temporary storage site here in two years. We are very sorry,” the Miyagi official said.
In the meeting, residents expressed their anger in succession. “It is unforgivable to cheat residents,” one said. Another said, “We cannot endure it (the temporary storage site) anymore.”