150,000 tons of radioactive pollutants left out in the open

150,000 tons of radioactive pollutants left out in the open
Workers put in radioactive waste discharged from decontamination into bags made of resin in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 8.

About 150,000 tons of radioactive waste, including contaminated soil left over from decontamination efforts, have been left out in the open in areas affected by the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, The Yomiuri Shimbun has discovered.

This figure accounts for about 30 per cent of all radioactive waste from the crisis, and results from delays in the establishment of temporary storage sites.

The Yomiuri's research discovered that 36 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture are scheduled to set up temporary storage sites in 372 locations, but that so far storage sites had only been set up in 139 locations, or 37 per cent. Among the 36 municipalities, 23, or about 60 per cent, had not been able to secure land for such sites.

Behind the problem is the central and local governments' failure to eliminate residents' fears that radioactive pollutants may be stored at the sites for longer than authorities promise.

Local government officials have said it will be easier to obtain residents' consent once construction begins on interim storage facilities to store radioactive waste in the medium term, and expressed hope that construction will start quickly.

Of the municipalities, nine had secured locations for the temporary storage sites, two had not decided how many sites to build, and two did not reply to the question.

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