Japanese broadcasting company NHK revealed that as much as 130,000 tons of ash and sludge remain stored in Fukushima and four other surrounding prefectures. These radioactive materials from last year’s nuclear disaster are supposedly safe to dispose of together with regular waste materials.
A policy has been set in place that says that the central government is responsible for the disposal of radioactive materials whose level of radioactive cesium exceeds 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. On the other hand, the work of disposal for radioactive ash and sludge below that level falls into the hands of municipal governments and are to be buried along with other regular waste. However, based on a survey conducted by NHK, municipal governments in five prefectures have failed to dispose of the increase amount of radioactive sludge despite their radioactivity readings falling well below the required level. Fukushima Prefecture tops the list with 70,000 tons, followed by the 56,000 tons from Niigata Prefecture.
In the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, 8,000 sacks of radioactive ash and sludge, each weighing a ton, remain in the sewerage treatment facility and a new facility needs to be built to accommodate the increasing number of materials being stored there. Officials say that residents are worried about the safety of disposing the radioactive material along with regular waste materials, a fear that the Environment Ministry hopes to dispel.
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