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Government proposes reusing decontaminated Fukushima soil as landfill

Kyodo

The Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing decontaminated soil from disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture as landfill for parks and green areas.

At a meeting of an advisory panel, the ministry also called for launching a new organization to map out plans on how to gain public understanding about reusing decontaminated soil, ministry officials said.

The proposals come at a time when Fukushima Prefecture faces a shortage of soil due to the decontamination work stemming from the 2011 triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

At the meeting on radioactivity, the ministry presented a plan under which decontaminated soil will be reused only on land away from residential areas. It will be used to fill in depressions, which will have vegetation planted on top.

Last year, it decided it was OK to use soil containing cesium emitting 5,000 and 8,000 becquerels per kilogram or lower in public projects, such as coastal levees and roads.

But it remains unclear whether the initiative will proceed as some people in areas where the soil will be used may oppose the idea.

The ministry is considering putting stricter standards on cesium so people nearby would be exposed to less than 1 millisievert per year.