Governor Yuhei Sato of Fukushima Prefecture met with the mayors of eight municipalities in Futaba County on Feb. 7 to brief them on a revised plan for the locations of sites for temporarily storing contaminated soil and other debris caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Under the new plan, Naraha Town will be removed from a list of candidate storage sites, which will be limited to Okuma and Futaba towns. In addition, a facility will be constructed in Naraha to dispose of burned ash containing radioactive substances exceeding 8,000 becquerels and not more than 100,000 becquerels of radiation per kilogram.
The disposal facility will solidify incineration ash generated in the prefecture with cement. After disposal, cemented ash will be moved to the existing facility in Tomioka Town for final burial. It will not be buried at the site of the disposal facility. The location of the disposal facility in Naraha has yet to be fixed.
An earlier central government plan called for the disposal facility to be built at the same location as the burial site in Tomioka. But the prefectural government has concluded that this plan is not acceptable because the Tomioka site is too small in space to ensure safe work and that a new disposal site should be found elsewhere. Naraha has been shortlisted for the disposal facility because trucks carrying contaminated debris will run through the town on their way to the planned storage sites, according to prefectural government officials. The revised plan appears to be based on the perception that the burden of accepting facilities should be shared in a balanced manner among the towns involved.
Portland, Oregon, Aug. 6 (Jiji Press)–Members of Japanese and U.S. nongovernmental organizations, together with researchers, agreed at their two-day meeting that ended here Monday to cooperate closely to share information about debris from Japan washed into the Pacific Ocean following last year’s tsunami.
The meeting to discuss how to deal with the debris washed away by the massive tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake last year, was held by Ocean Conservancy, an NGO based in Washington D.C., and joined by researchers and the Japan Environmental Action Network.
Participants agreed to collect data on the ocean debris through International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy’s global volunteer effort to maintain healthy seas, and use it to formulate cleanup measures.
Hiroshi Kaneko, head of the Tokyo-based NGO, said, “The best outcome of this meeting is that we confirmed we share the same views with those working in the United States.”
He said the organization would like to continue the dialogue.
The Environment Ministry will subsidize tours of disaster-hit Iwate and Miyagi prefectures to encourage residents of other parts of the nation to accept debris from the prefectures, according to ministry sources.
The ministry hopes the tours will help lead to the implementation of its plan to dispose of debris by alleviating concerns among citizens about radioactive contamination of the material, the sources said.
It will subsidize such costs as bus rental fees, lodging expenses, rental fees for venues to hold explanatory meetings and lecture fees.
In principle, it will pay all the actual expenses. But the ministry will compare actual accommodation fees against those stipulated in the law on travel expenses for national public officials and pay whichever is cheaper to the local governments.
Under the law, the daily maximum for accommodation fees for officials is 19,100 yen.
“We’re not sure how many [local governments] will take advantage of this opportunity, but we’d like to provide a reasonable amount of subsidies,” an official from the ministry said.
While an increasing number of local governments have officially decided to accept debris or to consider doing so, many have been seeking central government support to reassure their residents about the safety of the debris.
The ministry decided to provide the subsidies after learning that an inspection tour of the disaster-hit areas organized by the Shimada municipal government in Shizuoka Prefecture led to its decision to accept debris from the towns of Yamada and Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture.
“Residents who first opposed [accepting debris] were won over after seeing the disaster-hit areas,” Shimada Mayor Katsuro Sakurai said.
The Shizuoka municipal government, which plans a two-night inspection bus tour of Yamada and Otsuchi on Tuesday, has received applications from more than 20 people, which exceeds the number of positions available, it said.
The Kiryu municipal government in Gunma Prefecture, which holds explanatory meetings for residents about accepting debris, is encouraged by the ministry’s plan.
“As the central government will support us, we’d like to hold an inspection tour,” said an official of the municipal government.
The Yurihonjo municipal government in Akita Prefecture, which plans to incinerate debris on a trial basis, said some residents want to consider whether to take debris after seeing the local situation.
“We’d like to plan the tour after seeing the result of a trial incineration,” an official of the municipal government said.
A total of 20.45 million tons of debris has been generated in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.
Of that, the central government hopes to arrange for the disposal of about 4 million tons, although there is no prospect that all of it will be accepted by other local governments.
The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to accept 500,000 tons of debris by 2014.
The central government has asked eight prefectures and eight cities designated by government ordinance as major cities to accept a total of 910,000 tons of debris.
Aichi Prefecture plans to accept 1 million tons of debris.
MIYAKO, Iwate–Debris from the March 11 tsunami is being used to construct an abalone farm and a breakwater off Taro Port in the Taro district of Miyako.
The prefecture is seeking to kill two birds with one stone: avoid the cost of disposing of the debris while also contributing to the development of the aquafarming industry. Consumers will likely be able to sample “reconstruction abalone” in a few years.
A 10-meter-high coastal levee and other facilities in the Taro district were destroyed by the tsunami and a large amount of concrete debris left behind.
Iwate Prefecture’s Miyako Fisheries Promotion Center proposed using the concrete for restoration to the Environment Ministry and the Miyako Coast Guard Station in mid-May.
The center also explained its plan to use concrete debris to repair the breakwater and establish abalone and sea urchin farms to the Tarocho fisheries cooperative association and the Miyako municipal government. Both organizations accepted the plan.
According to the center, using debris for the farm will eliminate the costs of treating the debris and transporting it to disposal facilities, and lower the cost of constructing a breakwater.
Work to pile up debris in a breakwater about 70 meters long, 10 meters wide and 3.5 meters tall has almost finished. The breakwater is expected to be completed by the end of September, when wave-dissipating blocks are placed on the surface.
Meanwhile, the center plans to utilize huge concrete blocks from the previous breakwater that were washed away by tsunami and sank in the fishing port to create the aquafarm. Of the about 30 huge blocks that sank in the port, some that settled in shipping lanes will be broken up and used for the farm.
According to the plan, the crushed concrete blocks will be lowered to the seabed over an about 40,000-square-meter area adjacent to the breakwater and other stone material will be piled on top of them. By recycling blocks that sank in other fishing ports as well, the cultivation farm is scheduled to be completed in a few years.
The Tarocho fisheries cooperative association ran aquafarms in four areas, apart from the planned site, before the disaster. Last fiscal year, its abalone sales were about 300 million yen, accounting for 12 percent of all abalone sales in the prefecture.
However, no survey has been done of the damage suffered by its existing farms in the tsunami. The facilities the association managed for cultivating baby abalone were washed away March 11.
An official at the association welcomed the plan, saying, “It’ll be convenient if a new farm is constructed near the fishing port. We also appreciate the early construction of a breakwater.”
Shoichiro Fujiwara, the center’s fishing port and village division chief was one of the originators of the idea.
“[I’ll be glad] if abalone [cultivated in debris] helps restore fisheries,” Fujiwara said.
Akira Nagano, chairman of the national fisheries construction association, said it was a groundbreaking idea for promoting the fisheries industry.
“It’s likely other fishing ports will adopt the idea,” he said.
(Aug. 16, 2011)
The second supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 contains funds for the Forestry Agency to research using the massive amount of wooden debris generated by the March 11 disaster as fuel for biomass power generation, it has been learned.
Passed in the Diet on Monday, the budget includes about 100 million yen for examining the possibilities of biomass energy production. Using debris would kill two birds with one stone–clearing away wreckage and generating electricity.
In the third supplementary budget, which will contain significant spending for disaster reconstruction, the agency is seeking about 10 billion yen in subsidies for building power plants, and aims to establish five or six in disaster areas.
However, a number of issues remain, including the unstable supply of raw materials.
The agency predicts that of the about 19 million tons of wooden debris believed generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, about 5 million tons could be used as fuel.
However, Fusao Nishizawa, head of the Biopower Katsuta biomass power plant in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, predicted all the wooden debris created by the disaster would be used up in two to three years.
Tokyo Institute of Technology Prof. Takao Kashiwagi said that in addition to using debris, “timber from forest-thinning should be collected and supplied to woodchip producers, thereby linking [biomass power generation] to the rejuvenation of forestry as well.”
Woodchips can be used as biomass fuel.
(Jul. 26, 2011)