FUKUSHIMA – Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato told heads of municipalities on his turf Wednesday that the prefecture plans to accept the central government’s on-site surveys for the construction of a temporary storage facility for radioactive waste from the meltdown crisis.
At his meeting with the chiefs of seven towns and villages around Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Sato assured that “accepting the surveys does not mean accepting the construction of the facility.”
In August, the Environment Ministry named 12 sites in three towns in the prefecture — nine in Okuma, two in Futaba and one in Naraha — as candidate sites for the planned disposal facility. It has since asked for local cooperation for geological surveys.
At the day’s meeting, Sato said he decided to accept the surveys on condition that the ministry will provide detailed explanations to people in the candidate areas and report progress in the work in a timely manner.
Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe told reporters after the meeting that “each town has expressed understanding (of the survey plan).”
Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa, however, was absent from the meeting.
“I did not attend the meeting in protest, as the central government is pushing the (storage facility construction) plan forcefully,” he separately told reporters.
Speaking in Tokyo, Environment Minister Hiroyuki Nagahama said: “I appreciate (Fukushima’s acceptance of the surveys). We will conduct the surveys properly.”
The ministry plans to undertake the field studies, scheduled to continue for some three months, in January at the earliest and draw up a report, officials said.