Three years after the nuclear disaster rendered the Fukushima Daiichi power plant crippled and forced residents in the nearby town to evacuate indefinitely, the decontamination process of the crippled nuclear facility is still not over. The process is expected to span decades, and moving at a turtle’s pace, the residents can barely see hope that someday soon, they can come back to their old homes. At this point, even the issue of where to store radioactive waste materials has yet to be finalized and has further delayed the process.
While the government has initially determined the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba to store radioactive waste, both towns have remained reluctant to come to an agreement with the government. As such, the central government has decided to amp up the benefits it has offered to both municipalities to make them agree on storing the contaminated waste — not a small amount, as the sheer volume of the radioactive waste would be equivalent to the size of 23 Tokyo Domes. To urge the two municipalities, the government has offered many advantages in monetary terms to win them over. The compensation plan they proposed includes inflating the real estate values of the land designated for waste storage more than its current value, on the assumption that the land would be livable again after some years. The government also vowed to cover costs in relocating grave sites and remains to another area so that the residents could visit them, away from radioactivity. It has also pledged to shoulder the costs of holding a memorial site for the remains of those that will be transferred and even the construction of a new grave site, as part of their plan to sweeten the offer.
However, all these remain a plan until both Futaba and Okuma consent to the planned construction of the storage facilities. If the government would be able to alleviate and assure the municipalities and its residents of the long-term plan for their town, then maybe they could come to an agreement. But until then, decontamination process would remain incomplete and radioactive wastes would be left unattended.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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