An increasing number of disposal sites in Japan refuse to accept radioactive waste, with more than 140,000 tons of contaminated soil, ash and sewage sludge piling up in Tokyo and other six prefectures in the Kanto region.
According to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun, about 103,000 tons of sludge, 6,500 tons of ash and 30,400 tons of soil are still at the facilities where they were collected, waiting for being transferred to final disposal sites.
According to the government’s standards, only waste with radiation levels up to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram can be disposed of in landfills.
The survey however revealed that many disposal sites refuse to take in waste even when it fulfills the criteria.
Nagareyama municipal government in Chiba Prefecture, for example, has to dispose of 750 tons of ash, of which only 350 kilograms meets the government’s criteria. The city has low hopes for finding disposal sites for the ash.
“The central government’s criteria doesn’t do anything to gain understanding from residents around final disposal sites. Unless something is done, we’ll be forced to stop incinerating garbage,” said an official of Nagareyama municipality.