On 26 February the Science and Technology Agency informed the governor of Hokkaido that it would abandon its plans to build a permanent underground repository at Horonobecho. Instead PNC will use the site to build a research centre to investigate the geological characteristics of the rock hundreds of meters below the surface.

In 1984 the town government of Horonobecho, located in a remote area in the north part of the northern island of Hokkaido, approached PNC and offered a site for the deep underground disposal of high level waste. It took this action in the hope that it would reverse the trend in the decline of the local population. PNC announced it would build a facility there for disposing of high level waste from its own reprocessing plant at Tokai Mura. As soon as this was announced the proposal ran into opposition from the Hokkaido government and local labour unions and no progress was ever made.