The Japanese government has indefinitely delayed the storage of radioactive waste collected during the cleanup near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as it has yet to build secure tanks to hold the waste, media reported Monday citing officials.
The authorities had planned to move the waste to storage tanks in January. However, that deadline has been put-off indefinitely due to the difficulty in finding a location for the facilities, the Kyodo news agency reported.
The central and local governments agreed to build temporary reservoirs for radioactive materials in the coastal towns of Futaba and Okuma, the closest to the plant, but have still not been able to reach an agreement with the owners of the chosen land, government sources told the media.
The radioactive material is supposed to remain in these installations for a period of 30 years after which it would be moved to highly secure permanent storage tanks whose location has still not been decided.
According to the government’s plan, the temporary storage facilities will be located over 16 km away and will have a capacity of storing some 30 million tonnes of earth and waste material collected during the cleanup operation.
Currently, the waste material is being placed in several plots near the power plant.
The partial fusion in the Fukushima Daiichi reactors after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 resulted in large amounts of radioactive material being emitted into the air and dispersed around the plant.
Some 46,000 people who lived around the plant remain unable to return to their homes due to the emissions which have also seriously affected agriculture, livestock raising and fishing in the area.