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Fukushima Cleanup Bill $14 Billion Over 30 Years, Ministry Says

Fukushima Cleanup Bill $14 Billion Over 30 Years
A worker walks near an excavator as it removes radiated soil during a decontamination process at a park in Fukushima, Japan. Japan’s environment ministry will compile a budget for decontamination by the close of the fiscal year ending in March 2013, officials said in Sept. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Contaminated material from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will be collected over 30 years and stored at a secure site at a cost of 1.1 trillion yen ($14 billion), according to the country’s environment ministry.

Officials will select a site in Fukushima prefecture to build concrete-walled pits for holding contaminated soil and other waste by the end of March 2013, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment said in its so-called road map on decontamination.

“The focus will be on maintaining a centrally managed storage facility that will be safe and secure,” the ministry said in a document outlining the plan.

Explosions at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station sent radiation into the atmosphere after the plant was wrecked in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s environment ministry will compile a budget for decontamination by the close of the fiscal year ending in March 2013, officials said in Sept.

Certain areas around the plant, which continues to emit radiation, may be uninhabitable for at least two decades, according to a government estimate in August.

The ministry plans to begin its full-scale decontamination efforts when a recently passed cleanup law takes effect on January 1, 2012. Ministry officials will begin working on the acquisition of areas where contaminated waste can be held for a three-year period before it can be transported to the storage site, the ministry said.

Sumitomo Corp., IHI Corp. and Obayashi Corp. are among companies seeking to win decontamination contracts in Fukushima, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News from the prefectural government in October.

The temporary sites and permanent storage site will be selected in consultation with residents of the affected areas, according to the plan.

The site won’t hold radioactive material that spread to other parts of the country since the accident.

So-called hotspots have been found in Tokyo and other areas more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the nuclear plant, some of them by local governments and citizen groups.

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