Public acceptance of the final disposal of soil removed from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident -The importance of procedural and distributive fairness is evident-

Summary of the AIST Press Release on August 24, 2022

 Large-scale decontamination work has been carried out in Fukushima and other prefectures to restore the environment contaminated by radioactive substances released as a result of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Approximately 13.3 million m3 of removed soil and incinerated ash (hereafter referred to as “removed soil”) generated in Fukushima Prefecture as a result of decontamination is currently being transported and stored at an interim storage facility located around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. These removed soils are to be finally discarded outside of Fukushima Prefecture by 2045 according to the Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation Law. To implement out-of-prefecture final disposal of removed soil, it is essential not only to examine the technical aspects such as disposal methods and volume reduction but also to accumulate knowledge on social acceptance of the final disposal. In this study, we conducted a web-based survey of 4,000 people nationwide, equally assigned by age, gender, and region, excluding residents of Fukushima Prefecture, and used conjoint analysis to determine the relative importance of several factors in the implementation of final disposal of removed soil. In the questionnaire, final disposal sites were represented by options with four attributes: decision process for accepting the final disposal site (procedural fairness), volume of substance to be disposed of and its radioactivity concentration, distance and location between the respondent’s residence and the disposal site, and number of disposal sites to be established throughout the country (distributive fairness), and respondents chose the more desirable options. The results revealed that, regarding final disposal, respondents placed more importance on fair procedures and fair distribution than on the amount of material to be disposed of or its radioactivity concentration. The importance of final disposal to be acceptable to residents throughout the country is evident.

The result of this study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE on June 22, 2022.

Fig. 1 Geological map of Nikko-Shirane and Mitsudake Volcanoes.

Fig. 1 Graphical abstract of the study