Contaminated soil remains near Fukushima homes

Contaminated soil remains near Fukushima homes

Japan's Environment Ministry says much of the soil generated in decontamination work after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident remains stored at more than 100,000 locations near homes in Fukushima Prefecture.

Top soil and plants collected in the decontamination project were first kept in the gardens of private homes or nearby parking lots. They were then transported to temporary storage sites and finally to intermediate storage facilities in two towns in the prefecture.

The storage at the intermediate facilities began in 2015. But the ministry says only 17 percent of the planned amount of soil and plants has been brought in since the construction of the facilities has only been partially completed.

The ministry says the rest of the material is still being kept at 104,938 locations in the vicinity of housing districts as well as at 933 temporary storage sites.

The ministry says it plans to transfer double the amount of last year to intermediate storage facilities during next fiscal year.

It says it aims to complete the transfer of all the material to the facilities by March of 2022, except for soil that is kept in no-entry zones.

Residents are calling on the ministry to remove the soil, from near their homes as soon as possible, complaining the work has not progressed fast enough.