The Japanese government wants to identify “multiple candidate sites” for a deep geological radioactive waste repository by the end of the year, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said. An interim report by a technical working group at Japan’s Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy re-evaluates the possible technology for the geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW), Jaif said. The report classifies various potential sites into three groups according to their suitability. Jaif said the report will be finalised after it has been made available for public comment and “should then contribute to the mapping of scientifically promising sites across Japan. Japan has around 17,000t of HLW in used fuel pools.
Japan’s Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (Numo) has been searching for a permanent HLW storage site for years, initially inviting districts to apply as a host. In 2007, the mayor of a town called Toyo, in Kochi Prefecture, southern Japan, registered the town’s interest, but Toyo’s residents opposed the idea and voted him out of office. His successor cancelled the plan. In May 2015 Numo ended its search for a volunteer community and scientists will now nominate suitable regions. Japan wants to start construction of a repository in 2025 for operation between 2033 and 2037.