Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara officially informed Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato on Thursday that the government will build interim nuclear waste storage facilities at Okuma and Futaba towns. A third designated site -- at Naraha town -- was dropped after the town rejected the proposal last month.
The government has been trying to win support from local residents since last December when the plan was first suggested.
The facilities will be used to store thousands of tons of soil contaminated with radiation and other nuclear waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.
The plan called for the government to spend 100 billion yen on the project, which involves buying about 16 square kilometers of land in Futaba and Okuma towns, which lie in the no-go zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The facilities themselves, which will be able to store 28 million cubic meters of waste, are expected to cost 1 trillion yen to build, the environment ministry says.
The mayors of Futaba and Okuma have expressed reservations about the plan, saying the storage facilities will dissuade displaced residents from coming back.
Reconstruction work in Fukushima has progressed much slower than in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures because the government has been unable to find a site to store all the contaminated waste.
The government plans to enact a law stating that the waste must be moved out of the prefecture with 30 years.© Japan Today