Incineration of rubble OK’d amid radiation risk

Kyodo

The Environment Ministry plans to allow rubble from the March 11 disasters in coastal and central parts of Fukushima Prefecture to be incinerated or buried, raising the risk of radioactive contamination, officials said Sunday.

While the ministry already allows 10 municipalities where contamination levels from the prefecture’s stricken nuclear plant are low enough to handle debris under normal procedures, it has decided to expand the eased limits to other parts of the prefecture outside the nuclear no-go zone and evacuation areas.

The move is aimed at speeding up rubble removal in Fukushima Prefecture, but authorities are required to handle it with care, including by decontaminating and managing it properly, the officials said.

The ministry plans to formally decide on the matter at a panel meeting June 19 and allow the disposal of rubble kept at makeshift yards possibly in late June. But it will continue to ban transfers of the debris to areas outside Fukushima Prefecture.

As of Friday, the ministry estimates 23.82 million tons of rubble were created by the disasters in coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima alone.