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Agency for Natural Resources and EnergyBasic Policy on the Final Disposal of Designated Radioactive Wastes was Revised— The Government of Japan will Play a Proactive Role in Resolving the Issue of Designated Radioactive Wastes —

On May 22, 2015, the Cabinet decided to approve a revision of the Basic Policy based on the Final Disposal Act. The final disposal of high-level radioactive wastes is an issue that the present generation must resolve so that future generations will not be subject to the burden it presents. The government of Japan will play a proactive role in resolving the issue of high-level radioactive wastes along with helping the Japanese public as a whole, and regional populations, to understand the government’s activities.

Pursuant to the Designated Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Act (the Final Disposal Act), which was enacted in 2000, the government plans to dispose of high-level radioactive wastes, which are unavoidably generated through nuclear power generation, in stable geological strata at a depth of 300 meters or greater. This method is known as geological disposal.

Although the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO, the organization responsible for disposal), has, since 2002, advertised in local communities to gain approval to conduct research surveys for selecting appropriate disposal sites, such a survey has not yet been conducted. In response to this situation, the government established the Inter-Ministerial Council for Final Disposal in 2013 in order to fundamentally review the policy on final disposal and has discussed related matters with the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy. And now, the Basic Policy based on the Final Disposal Act has been revised on the basis of those results.

The government will play a proactive role while gaining pubic understanding from the Japanese people as a whole, and regional populations. As the first step, the government will work on nationwide activities to help the public understand the new Policy, for example, holding nationwide symposia in each regional block and briefing local governments.

Key points of revisions of the Basic Policy

  • Ÿ While making efforts based on the responsibility of the present generation so that future generations will not be subject to the burden, the government will ensure reversibility and retrievability and promote technological development for alternative options
  • Ÿ The government will ensure that the wider population demonstrate gratitude and respect to that areas contributing to the projects
  • Ÿ The government will select scientifically suitable areas and offer that local governments cooperate in the investigation
  • Ÿ The government will support consensus building and sustainable development in local communities
  • Ÿ The Japan Atomic Energy Commission will regularly evaluate progress in technological development etc.

Release date

May 22, 2015

Division in Charge

Radioactive Waste Management Policy Office, Electricity and Gas Industry Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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