SENDAI – Residents of three Miyagi Prefecture towns selected as candidate sites for hosting a permanent nuclear waste disposal facility barred the entry Monday of Environment Ministry officials seeking to carry out survey work.
People in the towns of Kami, Kurihara and Taiwa stalled the officials’ plan to conduct geological surveys needed to determine which of the three locations would be best to host the site, which will permanently store radioactive waste that spewed from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.
In the Tashirodake area of Kami on Monday morning, some 350 residents turned out in a light rain to protest the visit, holding banners and signs and yelling “Protect children’s future!” and “Get lost!”
They also physically blocked the officials’ access to the areas.
An Environment Ministry official meanwhile said the ministry will consider holding a town meeting in Kami in line with a request by the municipal government.
Plans to start ground surveys in the towns have been stalled since October, when the Environment Ministry began visiting them.
Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai criticized the residents’ demonstrations, saying they should wage their battle against the nuclear dump site in the courts.
“They should open the land for a government survey without hesitating,” Murai said. “If they disagree with the government plan, they should go to court.”
Post-3/11 nuclear waste is being temporarily stored on farms around the prefecture and farmers hosting the waste are demanding the government build a proper storage site.