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Fukushima to Store Soil Tainted After Nuclear Plant Meltdown

TOKYO - Soil contaminated after Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown will be stored in a facility straddling two small towns within the hard-hit region, the government announced Monday. The radioactive waste promised to be a "major burden" for residents, Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said as he announced the decision. "In order for Fukushima's speedy recovery, I have made the painful decision to allow for the construction work," Sato said. Soil now collected from various cleanup sites is now stored in black bags in more than 600 temporary lots outside the evacuation zones, raising health and safety concerns.

The central government has promised Fukushima that the waste will be removed from the prefecture after 30 years, although the precise location for a possible new location had not been found. Japan is struggling to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami-triggered crisis killed nearly 19,000 and forced more than 160,000 people to evacuate and leave their homes.

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- Arata Yamamoto

Reuters contributed to this story.