State-owned forests will be used as temporary storage for contaminated soil and rice straw containing radioactive materials from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Forest Agency said local governments will be responsible for preparing the lots to be used as temporary storage sites while the central government shall bear the costs to be taken from funds for reconstruction.
The measure came in the light of the mounting concerns from local governments on storing contaminated soil and other matter.
The forests shall be within the jurisdiction of the local government where the contaminated soil and other matter were taken out. If a local government doesn’t have state-owned forests, it would need to consult with other local governments.
Storage sites in state-owned forests will be specifically placed in considerable distance from residents. Considering that this would only be temporary, the contaminated soil and other matter will not be buried.
The central government requested municipal governments to look into temporary storage sites pending completion of proper storage facilities.
The Environment Ministry estimated the amount of radioactive soil in the Fukushima Prefecture to reach up to 28 million cubic meters. The said volume of soil is assumed to have a radiation dosage of 5 millisieverts or higher per year.
Earlier news reported radioactive ash from the damaged nuke plant piling up in cities and municipalities in northern Japan which has also been a great concern for local governments.