Government offers ¥230 billion over 30 years if Fukushima temporarily stores radioactive soil: NHK

Staff Report

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered to pay the Fukushima Prefectural Government ¥230 billion over the next 30 years if the prefecture hosts temporary storage facilities for soil tainted by radiation from the March 2011 nuclear disaster, NHK reported Wednesday.

But Fukushima Prefecture is unhappy with the plan because the administration is at the same time planning to terminate the current ¥12 billion-per-year subsidy when it formally decides to dismantle the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant in line with requests from local governments, according to NHK.

On Monday, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto met with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato, Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe and Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa. The ministers asked the two municipalities to allow construction of the temporary storage facilities for soil collected during decontamination work linked to the meltdown disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

At that meeting, the amount of state subsidies to be offered to the towns in return for the facilities was not specified.

But the government had told prefectural officials last week that it was ready to pay nearly ¥8 billion per year over 30 years, totaling ¥230 billion, in subsidies if the towns agreed to host the facilities, NHK reported.

At the Monday meeting, the government also said it will allow landowners to decide whether to sell their land or set superficies right, because locals are strongly against selling their properties. Communities are reluctant to sell their property because of attachment to ancestral lands and fears that temporary facilities would ultimately become final disposal sites for tainted soil.