The Environment Ministry will pay pre-disaster market rates to purchase land for a radioactive soil storage facility in Fukushima Prefecture, site of reactor meltdowns following the Great East Japan Earthquake, sources said.
Ministry officials will meet on Feb. 26 with representatives of the eight municipalities of Futaba-gun in eastern Fukushima Prefecture in an effort to win acceptance of a plan to build the depot measuring 3 to 5 square kilometers in their area.
The proposed deal will include a promise to pay landowners compensation for evictions and for the abandonment of houses and other property. The eight municipalities include the towns of Futaba and Okuma, where the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located.
The government describes the proposed storage facility as an “intermediate” solution as opposed to a final disposal site. It is to be built in an area where the radiation level is 50 millisieverts or higher a year.
The high radiation level means that the area will be uninhabited for many years.
The site is expected to accommodate up to 28 million cubic meters of contaminated soil.
At market prices before the nuclear accident, the government can expect to pay between 50 billion yen (about $625 million) to 100 billion yen, depending on the location of the facility.
Meanwhile, landowners who sell their land to the government for the storage facility will be able to receive tax deductions on the compensation for evictions and properties. The compensation system, including the tax deduction, is the same as that used for the purchase of lands for roads, dams and other infrastructure facilities.
The storage facility is expected to be operational in January 2015.
Environment Minister Goshi Hosono asked Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato late last year to allow construction to go ahead in Futaba-gun, but the eight Futaba-gun municipalities have not yet given their assent.