Saga Town Assembly OKs Petition for N-Waste Site Survey

Genkai, Saga Pref., April 26 (Jiji Press)—The assembly of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, approved a petition Friday to accept a “literature survey” to examine the town’s suitability for hosting a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear plants.

The petition had been adopted at a special committee meeting attended by all assembly members the day before. With Friday’s majority decision at an assembly plenary meeting, the town in the Kyushu southwestern region became the first host municipality for a nuclear plant to approve such a petition.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has a nuclear power plant in the town.

The petition was submitted by local business groups. Following the assembly’s approval, Genkai Mayor Shintaro Wakiyama will decide whether the town will apply for the survey.

“I feel that the will of the people is reflected (in the petition), and I take it seriously,” Wakiyama told reporters after the assembly meeting. He plans to reach his decision in early May or later.

The literature survey, which looks into paper and data, is the first of the three stages in the process of selecting a final disposal site. Municipalities can decide whether to apply, and those that accept can receive up to ¥2 billion in state subsides over two years.

An area found suitable for a disposal site will move on to the second stage after the consent of the local prefectural governor.

Ahead of the Genkai assembly meeting, Saga Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi expressed his opposition to the idea of accepting the literature survey.

As the prefecture hosts Kyushu Electric’s Genkai power plant, “we’re making a contribution to national policy,” he also said at a regular press conference in the prefecture’s capital of Saga.