Approximately 300 experts in the field of earth science have come together to issue a statement, urging the Japanese government to conduct a comprehensive review of its plan for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel. The specialists believe that the current approach, which involves burying highly radioactive waste deep underground, is problematic.
The signatories, including former chairmen of the Geological Society of Japan, argue that Japan lacks a suitable location where this hazardous waste can be securely stored for the approximately 100,000 years required for its radioactivity to subside. The existing law from 2000 mandates deep underground burial for nuclear waste, but the statement, released on October 30, points out that Japan is situated in a region with multiple tectonic plates, active volcanoes, and frequent seismic activity.
In this context, the experts assert that it is virtually impossible to select a location that will remain unaffected by these geological factors over such an extended timeframe. Consequently, the statement calls for repealing the current law regarding nuclear waste storage and establishing an independent third-party organisation to reevaluate how such waste should be managed, potentially considering temporary aboveground storage.
Currently, two small municipalities in Hokkaido are in the initial phase of a three-stage process to determine their suitability as a site for the final disposal of nuclear waste.