Genkai Mayor Says to Accept Nuclear Waste Site Survey (UPDATE 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant

GENKAI, Saga (Jiji Press) — Genkai Mayor Shintaro Wakiyama said Friday that the southwestern Japan town will accept a so-called literature survey to determine whether the town is suitable to host a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

The mayor announced the decision at a press conference after a closed-door meeting of the town’s assembly earlier in the day.

“I hope that our town’s initiative will help promote a nationwide debate (on the nuclear waste issue),” Wakiyama said. “Although there may be concerns among the town’s residents, (accepting the survey) will not directly lead to the town hosting a final disposal site,” he added.

Referring to state subsidies for accepting a literature survey, the mayor said that his decision was not for money as the town’s financial situation is stable.

The town will be the third municipality in the country to accept a literature survey, the first step in the process of selecting a final disposal site, after the town of Suttsu and the village of Kamoenai, both in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The town in Saga Prefecture is home to Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant, and it will be the first time for a literature survey to be conducted in a town with a nuclear power plant.

On April 26, the Genkai town assembly approved a petition submitted by local business groups calling on the town to apply for a literature survey. Following the move, senior officials of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy visited the town on May 1 to ask the town to accept such a survey.

The survey examines the suitability of a municipality as a final disposal site, based on geological data and documents. The central government will provide up to ¥2 billion over two years to municipalities accepting the survey.