TOTTORI — Mayor Shinichiro Yasuda of Misasa, Tottori Prefecture, visited the prefectural government Aug. 19 to announce opposition to plans to temporarily store uranium-tainted remnant earth near his town.

Yasuda called on Deputy Gov. Yoshinaga Komoto later in the day and delivered a formal municipal refusal to accept the storage plan, noting it would be difficult to secure local support.

The Tottori Prefectural Government is expected to reject a request by the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp. (PNC) for land to store the soil, which had been dumped in Katamo, Togo, in the prefecture. Local residents have been demanding removal of the soil since 1988, when they found out it was being discarded at the site.

The uranium-mixed remnant earth was produced when the PNC’s predecessor, Atomic Fuel Corp., mined uranium about 30 years ago. In August 1988, it was revealed that 16,000 sq. meters of the tainted soil had been dumped in the Katamo district.

Katamo residents joined to demand the removal of the contaminated soil, prompting the PNC in August 1990 to sign a promise that about 3,000 sq. meters of highly radioactive earth would be removed.

The PNC originally planned to move the soil to its uranium enrichment plant in Ningyo Pass in Saibara, Okayama Prefecture, but the Okayama Prefectural Government rejected the plan. The PNC then sounded out the Tottori government in April last year about temporarily relocating the contaminated soil to Misasa, which is adjacent to the enrichment plant at Saibara.

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