The state plans to buy 15 sq. km of land around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to build facilities to store radioactive soil and other waste generated by decontamination operations, government sources said.

Construction of the interim waste storage sites is expected to accelerate the sluggish cleanup activities in Fukushima Prefecture, the sources said Friday.

But the move will affect thousands of landowners, while evacuated residents who before the 2011 nuclear crisis used to live in areas to be placed under state control may not be able to return home. A large part of the No. 1 plant's vicinity has already been classified as a long-term zone that will remain off-limits.