Unclear if local govts will host sites for N-waste disposal in Japan

The government on July 28 released a “scientific features map” of areas that could host a final disposal facility for high-level radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel. The map displays areas’ suitability for a construction site using a four-grade scale, and was published with the aim of encouraging municipalities to host the facility. However, it remains unclear if any local governments will take on the project.

In 2000, the Japanese government established the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) to oversee final waste disposal. The government has been soliciting hosts for a disposal facility since 2002.

In 2007, the town of Toyo, Kochi Prefecture, applied to host a facility but withdrew its candidacy after residents opposed the move and the mayor was not reelected.

There have been no applications since. To encourage progress, the central government endeavored to chart scientifically appropriate sites for construction of a disposal facility, leading to the release of the map last month.

The government plans on holding explanatory meetings, starting this autumn, mainly in areas deemed suitable for construction. However, few anticipate municipalities to respond positively to government solicitations.

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Excerpted from story August 7 2017 story in the Japan News as posted at http://www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003851126

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