Fukushima to accept construction of interim soil storage facility

JIJI

The Fukushima Prefectural Government will accept a central government plan as early as next week to construct an interim facility for storing soil tainted with radioactive fallout from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, informed sources said Friday.

On Tuesday the central and prefectural governments plan to explain to the towns of Okuma and Futaba measures aimed at reviving their economies and ways to acquire land for the storage building. The two towns are candidates to host the facility.

After winning support for the plan from representatives of the two municipalities and residents, the Fukushima government will officially announce its decision to accept the storage construction, the sources said.

The prefecture wants to push forward talks on the matter among parties concerned before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned Cabinet reshuffle on Sept. 3, in which Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, who is in charge of the soil storage issue, is expected to be replaced, they added.

In January the government hopes to start storing soil collected during work to decontaminate areas affected by the nuclear accident at the power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

But the possibility cannot be ruled out that the start of the storage operation will be delayed because negotiations on land acquisition prices with owners will not be easy, the sources pointed out.

The central government plans to provide a total of ¥301 billion in subsidies to the prefectural and host municipal governments.