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Finance GreenWatch » 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident » Gov’t panel gives up scientifically singling out areas for storing high-level nuclear waste

Gov’t panel gives up scientifically singling out areas for storing high-level nuclear waste

Japan has still 50 nuke rectoer other than Fukushima Dai-IChi, but there are no storing area for hig-level nuke waste

Japan has still 50 nuke rectors other than Fukushima Dai-Ichi’s 6, but there are no storing area for hig-level nuke waste

An expert panel of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry effectively abandoned its efforts on Feb. 24 to scientifically single out “proper areas” that can host underground permanent storage facilities for high-level radioactive waste.

The industry ministry panel presented draft criteria for selecting proper areas in which high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors could be buried deep underground. The panel showed the criteria for improper areas for storing highly radioactive nuclear waste: areas within a 15-kilometer radius from nuclear reactors; areas around active faults; areas that have risen in elevation at least 300 meters over the last 100,000 years; and so on.

 

The panel called for excluding those areas from the list of candidate sites. But proper areas that do not meet the criteria apparently account for 70 percent of Japan’s total soil, and therefore the ministry panel has effectively abandoned its attempt to apply scientific criteria to single out proper areas in which high-level nuclear waste could be stored permanently in facilities build deep underground.

 

The central government abandoned its conventional plan in December last year to publicly solicit candidate sites and switched to a scheme to “select promising areas based on scientific grounds as well as asking multiple areas.” The industry ministry’s expert panel, which is comprised of 12 experts on geology, seismology, groundwater and other fields, has held six rounds of meetings since last October, discussing the validity of reports compiled by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO), which is in charge of projects to dispose of nuclear waste.

 

As a result, the panel judged that it is important not to expose metal containers for radioactive waste and clay buffers to highly acidic groundwater to prevent them from being damaged. Earth temperatures should be sufficiently low, it says. The panel added that areas within a 15-kilometer radius from nuclear reactors are inappropriate.

 

The experts said the construction of storage facilities should be avoided in areas within certain ranges from major well-known active faults, depending on the length of the faults. At the same time, it suggested that the data on the location of active faults and their activities remain insufficient. The panel said, however, that it is possible to turn areas near small and fuzzy faults into proper ones by carefully laying out the disposal facilities.

 

Whether or not to build facilities in such areas should be decided when detailed research is conducted, it said. Furthermore, in light of the possibility that even if the facilities are built underground, they could move up close to the surface of the earth or they could be eroded by rain and wind, the panel excluded areas that have risen in elevation at least 300 meters over the last 100,000 years from the “proper area” category.

 

There are fewer active faults in areas along the pacific coast of the Tohoku district and the Chugoku region as well as in the Kii Peninsula, and it is believed to be difficult for volcanos to emerge in Hokkaido’s Hidaka region, Sanriku coastal areas and the eastern parts of Kyushu. “Proper areas” are so extensive that the panel has not drawn up a nationwide map of such areas.

 

NUMO is to exclude inadequate areas from the list of candidate areas across the country in accordance with the criteria proposed by the expert panel. NUMO will then start operating permanent storage facilities for high-level radioactive waste about 30 years later after conducting three-step surveys and the like. The size of underground facilities would be about 10 square kilometers. The facilities are scheduled to be operated for 50 years and they will be monitored for 300 years after being shut down.

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20140225p2a00m0na012000c.html

 

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