Naraha won’t get waste storage site

Kyodo

At the request of Fukushima Gov. Yohei Sato, the government has decided to exclude one of three towns from the radioactive waste storage plan being developed in response to Fukushima nuclear crisis, sources close to the matter said.

The feuding between Tokyo and the tainted municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture has been blamed for slowing decontamination work around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which suffered three meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

On a visit Saturday to Fukushima, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo will accelerate efforts to build storage facilities that are “extremely important to promote decontamination.”

Abe did not elaborate on the plan, but the government wants the facilities up and running in January.

But the sources said Saturday that the central government told local officials it accepts Sato’s request, made in mid-February, to exclude Naraha. The other towns picked to host storage facilities are Okuma and Futaba, which the plant straddles.

The central government will instead use Naraha to host a facility to process ash residue after radioactive waste has been incinerated, the sources said.

Naraha, which is less contaminated than the two other towns, has refused to accept highly radioactive waste because it does not want to disrupt efforts to bring back its residents.

The government has decided to reject a call to build the facilities on leased land in favor of buying the land outright.