Last Friday, the mayor of Suttsu, Hokkaido, a small town on the west coast of the island, applied for a preliminary survey for a final disposal site for high-level nuclear waste.

The survey is the first stage in the process of creating an underground storage facility for high-level radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear power plants. In addition to Suttsu, the village assembly of Kamoenai, about 40 kilometers away, has also agreed to undergo a survey, which comes with substantial central government funding for the cash-strapped, graying localities.

What is a final disposal site for nuclear waste?