Fukushima waste left exposed

Fukushima waste left exposed

TOKYO - About 150,000 tonnes of radioactive waste from the meltdown crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, including soil left over from decontamination efforts, have been left in the open.

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 Shimbun's research discovered that 36 municipalities in Fukushima prefecture are scheduled to set up temporary storage sites in 372 locations, but that so far, only 139 locations, or 37 per cent, had done so.

Twenty-three municipalities had not been able to secure land for such sites because residents fears that the pollutants may be stored at the sites for longer than the authorities have promised.

Local government officials said construction should start on medium-term storage facilities, which will replace the temporary ones, so that it is easier to win the residents' consent.

So far, decontamination work has produced about 550,000 tonnes of radioactive waste, including contaminated soil, tree branches and leaves.

The plant was hit by a tsunami and earthquake in March 2011, setting off radioactive leaks.


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