Ministerial ordinance to reuse low-level contaminated soil enters into force in April 2020

Years ago an advisory committee of the Ministry of the Environment drafted a policy to use some of the 14 million cubic meters of soil and waste arising from nuclear decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture. If this material has radioactivity levels at or below 8,000 Bq/kg, after shielding and other preparations to prevent scattering and runoff of the low-level radioactive material, it would be used in applications such as fill for roads, railways, coastal disaster prevention forests, and embankments for coastal levees, as the middle and final covering layers for waste disposal sites, as fill for land development and reclamation of water areas, and as fill to raise the elevation of farmland.

To promote the reuse of this low-level radioactive soil (which the government refers to as “decontaminated soil”), in January 2020 the Ministry of the Environment invited public comments on a draft ministerial ordinance to revise a portion of regulations for enforcement of the so-called Act on Special Measures concerning the Handling of Environment Pollution by Radioactive Materials. It is expected to enter into force in April 2020.