City assembly in Nagasaki Pref. asks mayor to accept nuclear waste survey

A city assembly in western Japan has voted to urge city officials to take part in the first stage of a government process to select a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste.

The city assembly of Tsushima in Nagasaki Prefecture had received petitions from both groups supporting and opposing the city's acceptance of the so-called literature survey. Its special committee in August adopted, in a majority vote, the petition to apply for the survey.

On Tuesday, the assembly took a vote on the motion with about 70 residents observing.

The assembly adopted the motion with 10 members voting for and 8 against. Mayor Hitakatsu Naoki has the final say.

Before the voting, the mayor said he would announce his decision during the plenary session of the assembly, which is scheduled to close on September 27.

A law calls for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear plants to be buried in a final disposal site built more than 300 meters underground.

The government is conducting a 20-year selection process, in three stages, to choose a site.

Municipalities that accept the initial survey are eligible for state subsidies of up to 2 billion yen, or about 14 million dollars.

The initial survey has been underway since 2020 in two municipalities in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido.

The government hopes more municipalities will apply for the initial survey.