The Niigata Prefectural Government said Tuesday it will dispose of radioactive mud that has been stored since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ask the operator of the crisis-hit plant to shoulder the costs.

The prefecture, located about 200 kilometers from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, has stored around 60,000 tons of mud containing radioactive cesium and since 2012 has requested Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to dispose of it.

But the operator has refused, saying it is not able to handle industrial waste. The disposal costs are estimated at ¥3 billion ($27.5 million) and Tepco formally expressed its readiness to pay in December.