The governor of Fukushima has agreed to accept the “temporary” storage of radioactive waste from the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Yuhei Sato has been cajoled with the promises of subsidies if he accepts a Japanese government plan to build a depot on land near the battered Fukushima Daiichi plant.
“I have made an agonising decision to accept plans to construct temporary storage facilities in order to achieve recovery in the environment as soon as possible,” Mr Sato told central government ministers in Tokyo.
Tokyo’s solution has been to try to scrub the radiation from the affected areas, often by lifting topsoil in the hope that contamination levels will go down.
This has left the problem of what to do with all the waste, with no community in Japan prepared to accept its permanent storage.
The government’s answer has been to seek a temporary fix while it works on getting a long-term plan in place.
Mr Sato’s acquiescence came after prime minister Shinzo Abe’s government offered subsidies worth more than 300 billion yen ($2.9 billion), including land rent for the facility location.
Under the plan, the government will build storage units on an area of 16 square kilometres near the power plant.
While observers have long said the area around Fukushima is the only viable option, people already displaced have seen it as unacceptable because it would in effect finalise the abandonment of their communities.
◇Fukushima governor gives go-ahead for intermediate storage facility for radioactive waste.(from The Asahi Shimbun)
◇Fukushima okays nuke waste storages in return for almost $3bn in subsidies (from the Los Angeles Times)