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FUKUSHIMA —

Fukushima Gov Masao Uchibori has told the environment minister the prefecture will accept the final disposal at an existing facility of low-level radioactive waste generated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, becoming the first municipality in Japan to do so.

The waste contains radioactive cesium ranging from 8,000 becquerels to 100,000 becquerels per kilogram and includes rice straw, polluted sludge and ash from waste incineration following the Fukushima Daiichi plant crisis.

During the meeting on Friday with the governor in the city of Fukushima, Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said, “I pay honor from the bottom of my heart. The central government will make utmost efforts to tackle the disposal of tainted waste.”

Koichi Miyamoto, mayor of Tomioka, which hosts a final disposal facility, and Yukiei Matsumoto, mayor of Naraha, through which radioactive waste will be transported, also attended the meeting.

As of the end of September, 12 prefectures in Japan had a total of some 166,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste. The central government has decided to have the waste disposed of within those prefectures.

In Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, the central government is planning to build new disposal facilities as they lack the capacity to dispose of such waste at existing sites, but the plan faces strong local opposition.

To alleviate concerns, the central government unveiled its policy in June to nationalize the final disposal facility in Fukushima and offered additional proposals in November to ensure safety and spur the local economy.

The Fukushima prefectural government also offered last month subsidies totaling 10 billion yen ($81.47 million) to the towns of Tomioka and Naraha.

© KYODO

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Tag(s) : #Asia-Pacific

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