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Gov’t to offer Fukushima 300 bil. yen for 30-yr nuclear soil storage via Global Post

The government is planning to offer some 300 billion yen in subsidies over the next 30 years to local authorities in Fukushima Prefecture in exchange for storage of contaminated soil amassing from radiation cleanup work following the 2011 nuclear disaster, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

As its proposal in July to pay some 100 billion yen was dismissed by Fukushima authorities, the central government has decided to triple the amount in a bid to obtain consent to building facilities for the storage it envisions will end within 30 years amid continued local opposition, the sources said.

Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara will offer the new proposal later Friday to Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato and mayors of Okuma and Futaba, the seaside towns tapped as candidate storage sites as they host the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, they added.

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The storage facilities, which are planned on about 16 square kilometers of land in Okuma and Futaba, are expected to be capable of storing 30 million tons of soil and other radioactive waste, such as burned ash and sludge, collected through decontamination work within the prefecture.

The central government, which hopes to begin operating the facilities from January next year, has said the waste will eventually be moved out of Fukushima, but has yet to find permanent disposal sites in other parts of Japan.

The government initially sought to purchase all the land needed for building the facilities to secure stable management of the radioactive materials, but dropped the plan after landowners expressed concern the sites could end up being permanent if the land were owned by the state, and now plans to lease land from owners who agreed to that arrangement.

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