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Tainted soil moved to intermediate storage site

Nuclear & Energy

Workers have begun transferring radioactive waste to an intermediate storage facility in the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture. Similar work was begun in a neighboring town earlier this month.

Workers wearing protective suits checked the tags on bags of waste at an initial storage facility in Futaba on Wednesday. The tags show the radiation levels and other information about the soil and debris tainted by nuclear fallout from the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The workers then transported the bags by truck to an intermediate facility about 500 meters from the defunct nuclear plant.

Facility workers unloaded the bags onto a patch of ground covered with sheets. The bags hold 12 cubic meters of waste.

The government is planning to transport 22 million cubic meters of tainted material to the 16-squre-kilometer intermediate facility straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma. The work in Okuma began on March 15th.

So far the government has only secured enough land to accommodate 20,000 cubic meters of material due to difficult negotiations with landowners. It's unclear when the work of transferring the soil and debris at initial storage facilities and homes across the prefecture will be completed.

The government must dispose of the contaminated waste somewhere outside Fukushima Prefecture within 30 years of initial storage. But it has yet to find candidate sites for final disposal.

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