The Vice Minister for Education has said that since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and its surrounding areas will be uninhabitable for years, the government should consider turning it into a receptacle for radiation-contaminated waste. He also said that the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), should take charge of the disposal of this waste.
Yoshitaka Sakurada said at a meeting of lawmakers from Chiba Prefecture that the waste should be disposed of in TEPCO’s facilities since no one would be able to inhabit the area for some time ever since the nuclear accident in 2011, the worst since Chernobyl. One of the mayors asked Sakurada what would be the best solution for disposing of the ash from the accident that is contaminated with cesium. However, he clarified that he was not referring to the entire Fukushima region as uninhabitable, but just TEPCO’s facilities, which a major part is of course the nuclear plant.
But, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reprimanded Sakurada all the same, saying, “They should not make comments that could cause misunderstanding.” The government’s waste-disposal policy states that each prefectural government should dispose of their own “designated waste”, or sewage, ash and other waste that contain a radioactive concentration of more than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. Mayors from Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures have said that instead of constructing disposal facilities, the waste should just be put in Fukushima. But the Ministry of Environment has said that this is not feasible because it would drastically affect the clean-up and decontamination efforts at the Fukushima plant.
[ via Global Post ]