Tag Archives: spent fuel disposal

The Final Disposal of Nuclear Waste: Japan

Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant Japan

The Japanese government will select potential areas to host nuclear dump sites instead of waiting for communities to volunteer, according to the revised policy on permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste that was adopted by the Cabinet on May 22, 2015  The revision, the first in seven years, was prompted after towns, villages and cities throughout Japan snubbed requests to host nuclear waste dumps. The government has been soliciting offers since 2002.

The move is seen as a sign that the government wants to address the matter as it proceeds with its pursuit of reactor restarts. All commercial units have largely sat idle since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011….Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is seeking to revive atomic power, although the majority of the public remains opposed in light of the Fukushima disaster, which left tens of thousands homeless. Critics have attacked the government for promoting atomic power without resolving where all the waste will end up.

Permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste requires that a depository be built more than 300 meters underground, where the materials must lie for up to 100,000 years until radiation levels fall to the point where there is no harm to humans or the environment.  About 17,000 tons of spent fuel is stored on the premises of nuclear plants and elsewhere in Japan, but some would run out of space in three years if all the reactors got back online.  Under the revision, the government said it will allow future generations to retrieve high-level waste from such facilities should policy changes or new technologies emerge.

Worldwide, only Finland and Sweden have been able to pick final depository sites.

Excerpts from METI changes tactics after search for nuclear waste host proves futile,  Japan Times, May 22, 2015

Secret Talks to Dispose of Nuclear Waste in Mongolia?

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Gombojav Zandanshatar on Friday (Aug. 19, 2011) denied that any talks on accepting nuclear waste materials in Mongolia would be held during the upcoming visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. “There was never any discussion on storing nuclear waste in Mongolia. We have sent an official letter to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi to correct the false information,” Zandanshatar said.

The Mainichi daily has reported that Japan and the U.S. planned to jointly build a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Mongolia to serve customers of their nuclear plant exporters. Several Mongolian civil groups including Green Coalition, Just Society Front, Fire-Nation group are planning to hold protests during Biden’s visit.  The groups consider that government officials held secret talks with Japan and the United States to accept and store nuclear waste materials in Mongolia.

Mongolia denies nuclear waste talks will be held during Biden visit, Xinhua, Aug. 19, 2011