Full-fledged work begins to build interim nuke waste storage site in Fukushima

16 November 2016

The Environment Ministry went into full-swing construction work in the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Futaba and Okuma on Nov. 15 to build an interim storage complex for radioactive waste left by cleanup operations stemming from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The complex is to have two sets, one each in Futaba and Okuma, of main facilities that will accept contaminated waste brought into the towns from elsewhere in the prefecture. Each set comprises two main facilities -- one for sorting out polluted waste according to its weight and radiation levels measured, among other factors, and the other for long-term waste storage. The day marked the start of construction of the main facilities.

The interim storage site straddles the two towns hosting the crippled plant. The facilities will sit on a land plot about 1,600 hectares, surrounding the plant in a semicircular shape. They will keep up to some 22 million cubic meters of waste.

The work under way covers a land area measuring about 7 hectares in both Futaba and Okuma. The sorting and storage facilities in Futaba are to be located in the Koriyama district while one facility in Okuma will be in the Koirino district and the other will straddle the Koirino and Ottozawa districts.

The ministry is seeking to begin operating the storage facilities around the autumn of 2017. It expects to complete the sorting facilities and begin test runs before then.

On the first day of full-fledged work, ministry-commissioned contractors engaged in weeding and removal of the surface soil with heavy machinery with the aim of reducing radiation levels at the locations of the facilities.

(Translated by Kyodo News)