Tokyo: The Japanese government seeks to
dispose of waste contaminated with highly radioactive materials spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within the prefectures they are found in, so as to
minimize their movement, its draft basic policy showed.
The policy, which the government aims to formalize at a
Cabinet meeting in early November, takes over from
conventional waste disposal and decontamination plans but will
require assurances that the approach is safe and that unwanted
contaminated waste does not pile up in neighborhoods to the
concern of residents.
Working out the policy under a special law to deal with
radioactive contamination that will take full effect next
January, the government also seeks to set up interim storage facilities in prefectures where contaminated waste and soil are found "in substantial quantities," and assume
responsibility for them.
But the draft only says the government will consider the
final disposal of the waste after temporary storage, "taking
into account future technological developments."
As the basic idea for decontamination, it calls for a
swift reduction in areas where unnatural radiation exposure
comes to 20 millisieverts per year or more, while halving the
annual radiation exposure of ordinary people over two years
through August 2013 in areas measuring less than 20
The decontamination work will give priority to schools,
parks and other places that children frequent, with a target
of about a 60 per cent decline in radiation dosage.
The national government will directly decontaminate
designated evacuation areas by March 2014, except for areas
with particularly high radiation levels, while municipal
governments will compile their own decontamination plans in
areas with radiation at least 1 millisievert.
The special law, enacted in August under a lawmakers'
initiative, stipulates that the central government will
dispose of waste measuring more than a certain level of
contamination, decontaminate soil in designated highly tainted
areas, and act for local governments under municipal
decontamination plans in priority areas.
It also carries penalties for illegal disposal of
contaminated waste or soil.
First Published: Friday, October 07, 2011, 15:59