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Break with Nuclear Power
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No temporary sites found to dump radioactive waste

December 11,2011
Of all 59 cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture, decontamination work has begun at only two cities as of December 1. The biggest reason for the delay in removing radioactive materials is the high cost for the work and the lack of sites for the temporary storage of radioactive waste.

Akahata learned about this by inquiring into 53 local municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, excluding six municipalities in designated no-entry zones and would-be evacuation zones for which the central government is responsible to decontaminate.

Local municipalities and their citizens have difficulties in seeking sites for temporarily storing such wastes, as the government has not yet shown any specific plan for the final disposal sites of nuclear wastes for which the central government is responsible to set up.

“Selecting and acquiring the sites for temporary storage should not be left to local municipalities but should be taken care of by the government at its responsibility” (Soma City).

The government has earmarked 417.6 billion yen budget for decontamination. However, for example, Iitate Village alone estimates the cost of decontamination there at 322.4 billion yen.

“Private houses must also be decontaminated, but no houses can be decontaminated, as the mechanism of government cost sharing is still unclear” (Iwaki City). “The responsibility for radioactive decontamination should be borne by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and the central government who promoted the nuclear energy policy in the first place. We urge the two to bear the cost” (Nihonmatsu City).

Training and securing decontamination workers are another task that needs to be initiated.

Minami-soma City has a plan to decontaminate 46,000 houses (excluding houses to be decontaminated under central government responsibility) in two years beginning from February 2012. Postponing the start of the work till February is due to the difficulty of securing workers. City officials explained that 1,150 workers per day will be required based on an assumption that ten workers are needed to decontaminate one house, 115 houses need to be decontaminated per day, and 200 days a year will be workable.

Japanese Communist Party Fukushima Prefectural Assembly member Kamiyama Etsuko said: The central government is responsible to set up temporary storage sites. The government shouldn’t leave it to local municipalities. The cost of disposal should be shared by TEPCO and the central government. Decontamination should be hastened in order to allow the return of over 60,000 evacuees who were moved out of the prefecture. Our five JCP assembly members will do our utmost to push pressure on the prefecture and the central government to act.

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