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16 August, 2019

Proponents for Above-ground HLW Management Lose in Chiba University Debate

A debate on the advisability of geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW) was staged recently by students belonging to the Faculty of Education at the Chiba University. Assisted by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO), the students considered whether Japan should cancel the ongoing HLW geological (i.e., underground) disposal project and instead require management above ground.

A course on debate skills, taught by Professor Daisuke Fujikawa at the same university, has enjoyed the involvement of NUMO for the past eight years. This time, the students, while studying debating techniques and methods, attended lectures by nuclear specialists in preparation for the debate. Those who wished to do so also visited nuclear power plants (NPPs), the Horonobe Underground Research Center, and the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC). Two of the ten debate teams in the class (each consisting of from three to five students) were chosen to debate the question publicly. The team on the affirmative side of the proposition—that is, arguing in favor of above-ground HLW management—asserted that the safety of long-term HLW management in dry casks had been demonstrated ...more
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