Workers on Tuesday began building interim facilities near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to store contaminated soil and other waste gathered during cleanup work across Fukushima Prefecture.

The dump will cover around 16 sq. km and is located in the seaside towns of Okuma and Futaba. The complex will be able to hold around 30 million tons of soil and other waste such as radioactive ash. It will not receive waste generated from the plant itself.

Construction has been delayed due to the difficulty of obtaining agreement from municipalities and local residents. The central government had hoped to begin moving radioactive waste to the interim sites in January, but it now plans to begin doing so by March 11, which will be the fourth anniversary of the 2011 quake and tsunami.

The project will cost ¥1.1 trillion, which the central government will provide.

On Tuesday morning, work began on creating storage yards across about 2 hectares of land. But it remains unclear when the government will be able to start setting up other key storage buildings, an Environment Ministry official said.

The waste is to be permanently disposed of outside the prefecture within 30 years, which the prefectural government demanded as a condition of accepting the temporary facilities. Where it will be stored in the long term remains undecided.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday resumed decommissioning work at the Fukushima No. 1 complex after a two-week hiatus in the wake of two separate fatal accidents last month.