TOTTORI – A governmental nuclear research and development institute finished removing on Saturday about 10 percent of the 3,000 cu. meters of uranium-contaminated soil found in Yurihama, Tottori Prefecture.
About 290 cu. meters of soil was removed from the town’s Katamo district, and the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute plans to ship it in early October from Kobe to Seattle for disposal in the U.S., officials said.
The institute has no plan yet to remove the remaining 90 percent. The existence of the contaminated soil came to light in 1988 and had since been left untreated.
“We were able to remove some of the soil which has been a concern for a long time,” Tsuyoshi Ishimura, the institute’s executive director, told reporters at the removal site.
“We apologize to the residents for taking such a long time to complete it,” he said. “We will continue discussing how to deal with the remaining soil.”
Last October, the Supreme Court finalized an order that the institute should remove the uranium-contaminated soil, and it has been paying 750,000 yen per day to the local community since March 11 for not removing the soil.
The total penalty had climbed to 143.25 million yen as of Saturday.
If the institute fails to remove all of the contaminated soil by next May, it will face an additional 50,000 yen penalty per day.
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