Fukushima decontamination to result in 300,000 cubic meters of waste from closed Joban Line section


An estimated 300,000 cubic meters of waste will be generated as a result of radioactive decontamination work in a suspended section of the Joban Line, operated by East Japan Railway Co., in Fukushima Prefecture.

Decontamination work is ongoing to restore train services in the section between Namie and Tatsuta by spring 2020. How to secure enough space to temporarily keep such waste, including soil, is a difficult question.

Due to the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, the Joban Line is still suspended between Hamayoshida Station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, and Soma Station in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as between Odaka Station in Minamisoma and Tatsuta Station in Naraha, both in Fukushima.

The Hamayoshida-Soma section is scheduled to reopen in December and part of the Odaka-Tatsuta section next spring. Ahead of the reopening, replacing stones under the tracks and cutting trees and grass along the tracks has almost finished.

In the remaining Namie-Tatsuta portion, decontamination work is proceeding so that train services will be resumed between Tomioka, also in Fukushima Prefecture, and Tatsuta in 2017.

Decontamination work is also taking place between Namie and Tomioka, a portion that runs through the heavily contaminated no-go zone, so that services can be resumed by spring 2020.

Bags filled with decontamination waste are currently being stored along the rail tracks. They must be transferred elsewhere before restoration work starts.

The Environment Ministry has started negotiations with landowners near the railway line. The ministry has already obtained agreement from some owners on the use of land.

But it is still difficult to secure enough land to store 300,000 cubic meters of waste.

The ministry is considering utilizing locations where radioactive waste from decontamination work across Fukushima Prefecture is currently being kept. The sites will become available after the waste is transferred to an interim waste storage complex near Fukushima No. 1.