Radiation-Contaminated Soil Remains Unlifted In Fukushima

Hundreds of thousands of bags containing radiation-contaminated soil remain undisposed of in Japan's Fukushima prefecture for want of storage sites.

A survey conducted in 41 municipalities by Japan's NHK broadcaster found that surface soil containing radioactive substances from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been removed from about 4,600 houses and office premises, which constitute only 1.1 percent of those needed to be decontaminated. At about one-third of such sites, mainly in urban areas, the removed soil has been left on the premises.

The central government plans to build an intermediate storage facility for radioactive soil in Futaba Town, but it is uncertain when construction will begin, NHK said.

The Fukushima plant was knocked out in the March, 2011 massive tsunami, triggering meltdowns and radiation leaks in the worst atomic disaster since the Chernobil accident of 1986. Tens of thousands of people fled the area, most of which has been designated as a no-entry zone.

Most of Japan's 50-odd nuclear reactors are remaining idle after the accident as the government insisted on strict safety norms for their re-start. The Fukushima nuclear disaster also forced the government to have a fresh energy policy that sought to do away with nuclear power by 2030, and withholding sanction to new nuclear plants.

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