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4 November, 2014

WG Starts Discussing Geological Disposal

On October 23, the Radioactive Wastes Working Group under Japan’s Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy began discussing ways to realize the three objectives it had identified in its May interim report.

The three objectives are:

1. Proposing several waste-disposal areas considered as relatively more scientifically “suitable” or “promising.” [Scientific Selection]

2. Establishing steps to form a consensus in those areas.
[Obtaining Understanding within Areas]

3. Proposing measures to support sustainable development in areas subject to the implementation of investigations. [Support to Areas]

At the meeting, the Agency for Natural Resources & Energy (ANRE) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) tried to clarify what it had meant by “scientifically promising” to avoid the misunderstanding that such areas would be immediately considered as candidate sites for disposal. It clarified the relationship with a literature investigation from the viewpoints of the three items mentioned above.

The members of the WG then offered their opinions, with some urging cooperation, noting that discussions on waste tend to be “top-down impositions.” Another member stressed the “need to show objective indicators and data” based on social scientific concepts, connecting “a spot to an area,” so to speak.

The WG will next discuss specific conditions and criteria for selection, while the Geological Disposal Technology Working Group will take up more technical matters.

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