Although the article does not mention which companies nor whether they will actually incinerate the waste in Kyoto incinerators, it would seem highly improbable that these companies use facilities elsewhere, especially when incinerators in Tokyo area are already reaching their maximum capacity and maximum radiation level set by the government.
It may seem strange that an enormous amount of nuclear waste may be processed or just stored in Tokyo area whereas the policy for disposal is in limbo. Besides many municipalities are not eager to receive this poisoned business opportunity. The rules have changes once again: these days, cities cannot decide anymore, although in the previous consultation given as a multiple choice survey, “not accepting any waste” was not part of the choices. Nowadays, the Ministry of Environment headed by Goshi Hosono appoints directly private companies to dispose of the waste, hence by-passing any public consultation and shielding any transparency as to where and how it is carried on.
Back in 2005, Alan Preston wrote in his last blog Kyoto in Kyoto post with the following picture this ironic statement :
“Kyoto City’s new Tokuhobu ‘ Clean’ Centre ( Incinerator), hidden in the forest just north of the city makes compliance with the Kyoto Protocol’s guidelines on waste minimisation near impossible.”
Now the irony is pushed further with the incinerator, officially called “Clean Center”, and the Ministry of Environment responsible for the broad contamination of the country in a perfect George Orwell”s “1984” “newspeak” (where words mean the reverse of what they claim).
Furthermore into irony, in the same Iwate prefecture, on August 12th, 2011, 1130 Bq/kg readings were detected on firewood (on surface bark) , and the Kyoto local authority who was going to burn it for a popular religious event decided not to do so because of the contamination. If incineration is carried out at the “Clean Center”, the amount of radioactive particles in the air will be much higher than feared for the “obon” event in August called “Gozan no Okuribi“.
It is almost impossible to find the location of Kyoto incinerator on Google Maps if one does not know where to look for it, and it appears only when using the maximum zoom as can be seen on the screenshot below (notice the scale of 100 m – the incinerator already disappears on the next zoom out, with a scale of 200 m ).
As a reference, a wider view of Kyoto and the position of its incinerator is given below with the red dot and circle. The Kyoto incinerator never appears at the end of the road linking it to the Ichihara By-Pass (road 38). It is within walking distance to the agricultural village of Ohara which supplies Kyoto with local vegetables, and tourist attractions like the Botanical Garden, famous Golden Pavillion (kinkakuji) and the International Conference Center where ministers from all over the world gather to discuss issues from finance to of course the Kyoto Protocol, which dysfunctionality starts here.
The Japan Today article is reproduced hereafter. Although some mainstream newspapers like Mainichi Shimbun now claim, in a series of 6 articles starting today, that they should have reported better and earlier the consequences of Fukushima, none of them this morning reported about this key information.
TEPCO group contracts Kyoto firms to incinerate Iwate debris
The Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) group has contracted companies in Kyoto to dispose of rubble and debris from disaster-struck Iwate.
The rubble is to be disposed of by incineration by four Kyoto-based companies, Fuji TV reported. It said that the group which contracted the companies is Tokyo Rinkai Recycle Corp, in which TEPCO owns a 95.5% stake.
News of the incineration of potentially radioactive waste is almost certain to cause a public outcry. A spokesperson for the corporation was quoted by Fuji TV as saying: “The TEPCO group did contract the companies to incinerate waste from the tsunami-hit region, but safe disposal of said waste was stipulated in the contract.”
The entry titled “Goshi Hosono: Ministry of the Environment, Confidential Document to Municipalities – Don’t Tell Anyone, Don’t Say No” in “Dedicated to the Mystery Surrounding the 2 Tsunami Dogs” blog gives more insight into the policies.
This article comes as a sadly expected outcome depicted in our last post titled Mid-October Status & Editorial. Radioactive ashes will probably be stored on the facilities ground and dumped in the mountains surrounding the incinerator.
An English language search on Google for “Kyoto Incinerator” will only yield 6 results (!), one of them being a comment on TripAdvisor (emphasis added):
Ryokan Yamazaki: Traveler Reviews
“I have just read twenty five glowing reviews of this place, and no one has bothered to mention that it is located one block away from the largest municipal incinerator in Kyoto. Of course the public incinerator is called “The Clean Center.” That means about 500-1000 garbage trucks zoom in and out all day long. If this does not bother you, great. For my money there are much greener and more pleasant locations in Kyoto. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple.”
A Japanese language search with the “right words”, i.e. “Clean Center”, gives many more hits, in Japanese of course (key words: 京都 クリーン センター).
One of them is this Kyoto City “Environmental” page for which a Google Translate version screenshot is given below to give an idea of the large processing capacity (700t/day does sound compatible with small Japanese garbage trucks if they carry each 1t/day and if there are about 700 hundreds of them as per the traveller’s account above – see also below the garbage truck picture hereafter) :
This kind of small garbage truck can hold 2000 kg maximum but talking with the garbage workers, it turns out that because of volume issue, usually they can only put in as much as 1300 kg. So our back-of-the-envelope computation above to assess the verisimilitude of the traveler’s report of 500 to 1000 trucks per day proves realistic.
More information is needed to conclude about the added potential risk for Kyoto dwellers but this news are not positive and one needs to draw a line to the level of risk one personnally accepts. To me, it seems that the frog is getting closer to the boiling point in its pan without noticing it. I am not certain that the International Conference Center will receive many new officials once it is made clear that the Kyoto Incinerator “a block away” is processing nuclear waste. Kyoto tourism is certainly not going to improve its visitor stats with the spreading of nuclear waste to its doors.
Read also: Kyoto Nuclear Waste Incineration November Update on SurvivalJapan.