Oct 29 (Reuters) - Japanese officials in towns around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant reacted guardedly to plans announced on Saturday to build facilities to store radioactive waste from the clean-up around the plant within three years.
The government has so far raised 220 billion yen ($2.9 billion) for decontamination work and the environment ministry has requested about another 460 billion yen in the budget for the fiscal year from next April. Some experts say the cleanup will cost trillions of yen.
In Minami Soma, top soil scraped from school playgrounds and house yards is kept on site, piled up in corners or buried. The city has not been able to decide on a single storage location for the soil because of resistance from residents.
Local authorities would have to keep the contaminated waste in their towns until the facility is ready.
Hosono said it would take about three years to build facilities to store soil and other waste containing radioactive materials, mainly caesium, for up to 30 years, Kyodo said.
"We cannot proceed without cooperation of the prefecture and municipalities. We are very sorry to ask for this, but we hope you will understand," Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato, Kyodo news agency reported.