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24 November, 2020

NUMO Accepts Applications from Two Municipalities to Conduct Literature Surveys, Moving Closer Toward Selecting HLW Final Disposal Site

On November 17, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) announced that it would implement literature surveys of Suttsu Town and Kamoenai Village, both in Hokkaido, toward selecting a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste (HLW).

A literature survey, the first of three stages provided in the Designated Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Act, will consist of desk research based on specific literature and data on the area, including geological maps and mineral resource maps. No actual on-site work (boring, etc.) will be involved.

Also, before the next stage (known as a “preliminary investigation”) begins, opinions will be solicited anew from the governor and the heads of relevant municipalities. If any of them object, the process will end.

In 2017, NUMO had released a map of scientific features, objectively showing the distribution of such features, color-coded in four colors, across Japan. NUMO has also been working to improve public understanding on the matter through dialogue-type explanatory meetings held around the country.

After accepting the applications for literature surveys from the two municipalities in October, NUMO submitted to the head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) changes to its business plan covering the implementation of the surveys, and those changes have been approved.

From now on, while it carries out the surveys, NUMO will continue activities to improve understanding of the geological disposal business, as well as explain the progress of the surveys as they go forward. It will also specifically address its visions for regional development.

NUMO President Shunsuke Kondo released a comment concerning the start of the literature surveys. Expressing his gratitude to the municipalities for their decisions, he said, “NUMO will help them deepen their understanding of the geological disposal business by investigating the geological literature and data, analyzing them, and presenting the resulting information.” That indicates that he considers the literature surveys to be part of a dialogue process.

He then clearly reiterated that no radioactive waste would be brought into the municipalities during the period of the literature surveys.

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