Tue, Jan 01, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Japan’s growing plutonium stocks causing concern

Despite strong anti-nuclear power sentiment among Japanese caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster, the country will likely continue using atomic energy, meaning it must resolve the nagging issue of how to safely dispose of its nuclear waste

By Mari Yamaguchi  /  AP, ROKKASHO, Japan

“Even if we operate Rokkasho, there is more spent fuel coming out than it can process. It’s just out of balance,” he told reporters.

A more permanent solution — an underground repository that could keep nuclear waste safe for tens of thousands of — seems unlikely, if not impossible.

Tokyo has been drilling a test hole in central Japan since 2000 to monitor impact from underground water and conduct other studies needed to develop a potential disposal facility, but no municipality in the country has been willing to accept a long-term disposal site.

“There is too much risk to keep highly radioactive waste 300m underground anywhere in Japan for thousands or tens of thousands of years,” said Takatoshi Imada, a professor at Tokyo Technical University’s Decision Science and Technology department.

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