Sunday, May 1, 2011

Three years eyed to remove disaster debris

Sunday, May 1, 2011


The Environment Ministry said Saturday it expects that it will take three years for the three prefectures in the Tohoku region worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to finish removing the massive amount of debris left by the disaster.
News photo
When words are not enough: Tokyo Electric Power Co. Vice President Norio Tsuzumi (second from left) and other officials of the company bow in apology Saturday before residents in the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture. KYODO PHOTO
Up to around 24.9 million tons of debris mainly from collapsed structures lie scattered near the coasts of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, according to the ministry. The amount is about 1.7 times the debris seen in the 1996 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
The actual amount of debris is expected to be larger as the assumption does not include rubble from wrecked vessels and vehicles.
The removal process is expected to be delayed due to the lack of temporary disposal sites for rubble, the ministry said.
The Iwate Prefectural Government said it will need some 3 million sq. meters of land to temporarily store a total of 6 million tons of debris scattered around the prefecture, but has been able to secure only 40 percent of the land needed so far.
Fukushima Prefecture is currently piling up debris from the disaster, which is expected to amount to 2.9 million tons, excluding damaged vessels and vehicles, on some 330,000 sq. meters of land at fishing ports and industrial complexes. The Fukushima figures reportedly do not include the radioactive debris, soil and other materials near the crippled nuclear plant that will also have to be disposed of.
Miyagi Prefecture said it has secured land to pile up about 16 million tons of debris.

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