FUKUSHIMA – Fukushima’s governor on Saturday officially agreed to let the central government store radioactive debris collected from decontamination operations for three decades in return for ¥301 billion in subsidies.
“It’s a difficult decision, but I want to accept the construction plan,” Gov. Yuhei Sato told reporters.
Sato made the comments after meeting with Toshitsuna Watanabe and Shiro Izawa, the mayors of the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which host the damaged Fukushima No. 1 power plant, and representatives from neighboring localities.
At the meeting, the two mayors expressed plans to take the governor’s decision “gravely” and said that the construction plans for the storage facilities had been formalized, according to sources.
Sato said he accepted the plan because he sees it as “necessary to advance decontamination and realize recovery of the environment.”
He is to formally convey his acceptance to Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto as early as Monday. Arrangements are also underway for him to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.
The Abe government wants to store the tainted waste near the stricken power plant. To do so, it will have to conduct negotiations with roughly 2,000 landowners to acquire the approximately 16 sq. km of land around the plant needed to host the storage facilities. But critics say doing so will allow the government to keep the waste their even longer.
The central and prefectural governments have been negotiating the terms and conditions for the deal ever since the environment minister asked Fukushima last December to store the waste for up to 30 years.
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