After being barred from entry to port for nearly four days, the Pacific Swan docked with its third shipment of vitrified waste from France.
On 10 March the governor of Aomori Prefecture banned the ship from entering the port of Mutsuogawara which is the unloading point for the Rokkasho high level waste temporary storage facility. The governor previously took similar action in 1995 when the first shipment arrived but allowed it to be unloaded one day later after receiving assurances from the central government and utilities that the waste would eventually be removed to a permanent repository.
The governor’s actions are seen as a move to get a stronger commitment from the central government and to get recognition of the fact that no progress has been made in selecting a site for a permanent repository. A further complication arises because the organisation responsible for selecting a permanent repository is PNC which is due to be scaled down following a series of accidents and scandals. The revamped PNC will continue to have this responsibility but is currently keeping a low profile.