7 Mars 2016
March 5, 2016
Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa has pledged to speed up the process of disposing of radioactive waste from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Marukawa visited a water purification plant in Iwanuma City in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Saturday ahead of the 5th anniversary of the nuclear accident. The plant is now being used as a temporary storage site for waste contaminated with radioactive materials. More than 450 tons of sludge is being stored in greenhouses.
Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai told Marukawa that the prolonged storage of radioactive waste has left local residents concerned. He also said it is necessary to address the deterioration of some of the greenhouses.
The governor asked the Environment Minister to exercise strong political leadership in dealing with the waste disposal issue despite objections.
Marukawa said the government will fulfill its responsibility.
After the inspection, she told reporters that she had seen radioactive waste stored near residences and that she felt the need to dispose of the waste as soon as possible.
The government plans to build new radioactive waste disposal facilities in the prefectures of Miyagi, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma. But it faces strong local opposition.
Only the government of Ibaraki Prefecture has agreed to store the waste at existing facilities.