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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 7 - 13  > Nuclear energy will end in imposition of disposal sites on underpopulated areas
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2020 October 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Nuclear energy will end in imposition of disposal sites on underpopulated areas

October 9, 2020

Akahata 'current' column

Hokkaido's Suttsu Town, located 30km south of the Tomari nuclear power plant, has launched a bid for hosting a site for the final disposal of nuclear waste. Suttsu is an isolated fishing town facing the Sea of Japan with a population of less than 3,000. The town mayor on October 8 announced willingness to host a facility to dispose of high-level radioactive waste produced by nuclear reactors.

One more municipality in Hokkaido, Kamoenai Village, located 10km north of the Tomari NPP has moved to consider applying for a survey to determine the selection of candidate sites. The village mayor will finalize the decision soon. Kamoenai with a population of 800 is a lonely village mainly dependent on fishing.

Nuclear waste materials are formed into glass-mixed cakes which are wrapped in steel containers. Their radiation is so powerful that humans die within 20 seconds. It is said that it will take a hundred thousand years for these cakes to be safe levels. The amount of nuclear waste Japan stores is already equivalent to 26,000 containers.

The government has long looked for final disposal sites for radioactive waste. With the two municipalities' pronouncements, a process toward selecting the sites seems to have begun. However, not only Suttsu townspeople and Kamoenai villagers but also many Hokkaido residents are increasingly voicing their opposition to the two municipalities' bids to host nuclear waste sites. The local residents are angry at how the central government and power companies are targeting economically-depressed rural areas to accept radioactive waste sites by offering financial incentives.

Japan has continued with its policy of supporting nuclear power generation without solving the problem of nuclear waste disposal. The nuclear fuel-cycle project has already proven to be a failure. Nevertheless, the central government still clings to its insistence on the reactivation of currently-suspended nuclear reactors.

Past related articles:
> Lack of disposal site for radioactive waste casts cloud over planned decommissioning of nuclear reactors [August 28, 2019]
> No municipality should be placed under gov’t pressure to accept disposal sites for nuclear waste [August 5, 2017]
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