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2011年11月 2日 (水)

社説:中間貯蔵施設 「3年後をメド」着実に

(Mainichi Japan) November 2, 2011
Editorial: Radioactive waste storage project must heed local views
社説:中間貯蔵施設 「3年後をメド」着実に

The government has produced a schedule for handling soil and waste contaminated with radiation from the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

Due to the spread of radioactive contamination, the Ministry of the Environment initially expressed the opinion that it was necessary for eight prefectures including Fukushima to construct interim facilities to store contaminated waste, but it has since decided that in prefectures outside of Fukushima, existing facilities will be used.

The location of the interim storage facility in Fukushima will be decided as early as next fiscal year with operations due to commence in about three years' time.

To enable residents of Fukushima Prefecture who have been forced to evacuate their homes to return, it is essential that the government sticks to its policy of bearing responsibility for decontamination in areas where radiation dosages reach 1 millisievert per year or more.

Failure to determine guidelines for storage of contaminated waste will hinder decontamination work.

We call on the government to steadily put its schedule into action.

The schedule states that waste is to be contained in temporary storehouses within each municipality "for about three years" until it is moved to the interim storage facility.

Some say this will encourage the construction of temporary storehouses by local bodies that have not yet built such facilities out of concern that storage will become prolonged.

The government, meanwhile, has indicated that it will supply state-owned forest land in Fukushima Prefecture to construct a facility.

Still, even if local storehouses are temporary, the issue involves the interests of each region, and there are no guarantees that construction will go smoothly.

Naturally, the government must state how waste is to be stored.

It must become actively involved in explaining the situation and put a full effort into alleviating the concerns of residents.

What must come after that is the selection of a site for an interim storage facility.

As the extent of contaminated areas has widened, it is possible that the originally calculated size of the facility (23 times the capacity of Tokyo Dome) may not be enough.

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato has reserved a decision on the storage project and called for a detailed investigation of it.

He has also asked the government to quickly state the size of the storage facility and the conditions associated with its construction.

This is a natural response.

The government's schedule states that the interim storage facility will store waste for up to 30 years.

However, there exist no plans for final storage facilities that will enable the waste to be carried out of the prefecture after this period.

Local residents fear that the interim storage facility could in fact become a final storage facility.

How will the environment around the interim storage facility be managed, and how will the region be revitalized?  中間貯蔵施設の周辺環境をいかに整備し、地域の振興をどう図るのか。

Unless the government listens to the voice of the prefecture and local bodies, then there will be no progress in selecting a location.

The facility will not be any ordinary disposal facility, but one in which radioactive waste is stored for a long period of time.

It is crucial that the government carefully explains the concentration of contamination of waste that is brought into the facility, and the results of environmental monitoring of air and water in the area.

We hope the government will show its willingness for local residents to be involved in the management and operation of the facility as much as possible to ensure thorough safety.

毎日新聞 2011年11月1日 2時30分


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