Environment Ministry to seek ¥300 billion budget for fallout decontamination

JIJI

The Environment Ministry will request a fiscal 2015 budget allocation of around ¥300 billion for decontamination of areas tainted by radioactive fallout from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said Thursday.

The planned budget request is larger than the ¥258 billion actually earmarked for fiscal 2014, which ends next March, because government-funded decontamination work in special zones in Fukushima Prefecture is entering the busiest phase, the sources said.

Separately, the ministry plans to seek some ¥150 billion for disposing of designated radioactive waste, which was produced as a result of the meltdowns at the Tepco plant in March 2011. The request almost matches the fiscal 2014 budget allocation for the disposal.

The sources also said the ministry will continue in-house discussions on whether to make a budget request to cover costs associated with planned interim facilities to store tainted soil from decontamination work, as the central government is still negotiating the construction of the storage facilities with candidate host municipalities in Fukushima. Such costs include not only expenses for the facility construction but subsidies to promote the economies of the host municipalities.