Even as the Abe administration pushes for reactivating idled nuclear power reactors after they have cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority's safety screening, an open question remains: How will Japan dispose of highly radioactive waste produced by the nuclear reactors.
The trade and industry ministry has drafted a new policy on the waste scheme that paves the way for changing the disposal method in the future when policies change or new technologies become available, but it is far from clear if the move will facilitate the long-stalled process of finding a site for radioactive waste disposal.
Due to the lack of an established scheme for final disposal of the waste that would be generated after spent fuel is reprocessed, Japan's nuclear power generation has long been likened to a condominium without a toilet. The absence of a solution was highlighted two years ago when former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vocally expressed opposition to restarting nuclear power reactors that had been idled in the wake of the 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.