“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.