Tokyo metropolitan government officials held a meeting this week for residents of Ota Ward in a move designed to pave the way for the planned disposal of tsunami debris from Miyagi Prefecture in the area.
Since Tokyo first announced in late September that it would accept tsunami debris, it has received more than 1,800 complaints from residents by phone, fax and on its website, opposing the decision due to fears that radioactive substances would escape into the air if contaminated debris is burned.
At the meeting on Dec 6, officials told local residents that checks are to be carried out following the incineration to ensure that radiation levels remain within acceptable limits, with full-scale disposal set to begin in February of 2012, TBS reported.
Under the plan, 10,000 tons of combustible debris from Onagawa will be disposed of in incineration facilities located on reclaimed land in the Tokyo Bay area.
Of the 60 residents who attended the meeting, many were critical of the city authorities and several expressed doubts over claims that radioactive material would not be dispersed into the atmosphere following the incineration, TBS said.
Officials said that all of the debris will be triple checked for radiation before transport. Any material emitting above-standard levels of radiation will not be brought to the area, they said.
The Tokyo metropolitan government has already accepted tsunami debris from Iwate Prefecture. On Nov 3, about 30 tons of debris from Miyako City arrived by train at a freight station in Shinagawa Ward. The debris, in six containers, was divided into combustible and non-combustible containers, then loaded onto trucks and sent to three waste disposal and incineration facilities.
Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures have massive mountains of rubble, said to weigh more than 23 million tons. However, prefectural government officials say that all storage areas are now full and that they need to ask other prefectures to help with disposal.
The debris being sent to Tokyo is mainly wood and metal. By the end of next March, Tokyo will have received a total of 500,000 tons of debris from Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.© Japan Today