Three towns near Fukushima No. 1 asked to store radioactive soil, waste


The government on Saturday asked three towns in Fukushima Prefecture to create temporary storage facilities for contaminated soil and waste, but none of the municipalities agreed to the proposal.

At a meeting in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, the central government asked the towns of Okuma, Futaba and Naraha to set up temporary sites to store soil and waste contaminated with radioactive fallout from the crippled No. 1 nuclear plant, according to participants.

The power station straddles Okuma and Futaba, while Naraha hosts the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant.

In addition, the government asked the town of Tomioka to use its existing disposal facility to get rid of ash and debris whose levels of radioactive cesium do not exceed 100,000 becquerels, the participants said.

Also at the meeting, attended by the prefectural government and eight towns and villages around the No. 1 power plant, the central government said it would buy the land on which the temporary storage facilities in the three municipalities would be built, they said.

The government also said it would set up a legal framework for the final disposal of the waste at locations outside Fukushima within 30 years, they added.

“The process places more importance on speed than quality,” Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe told reporters after the meeting.

In December, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono formally asked the three towns to build an interim storage facility close to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.