Suttsu, a city in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, has applied to participate in the first stage of the government investigation to allow the selection of a disposal site for nuclear waste.

The mayor of Suttsu, Kataoka Haruo, submitted the request to the Japan Nuclear Waste Management Organization, NUMO on Friday in Tokyo.

The city is a candidate for the first of three studies carried out by the government to choose a final storage site for highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

NUMO President Kondo Shunsuke thanked the city for its candidacy. He expressed his respect for the municipality’s willingness to participate in an important state project.

Mr. Kataoka responded that many challenges will have to be addressed and requested the support of the state.

Suttsu is the first municipality to apply for the survey since the government released a map in 2017 showing the areas deemed scientifically adequate to host these underground sites.

In 2007, a municipality in Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, filed a similar request, but withdrew it due to opposition from residents.

NUMO plans to start the investigation in Suttsu after obtaining the government’s agreement. This first stage should last about two years.

Kamoenai village, also in Hokkaido, is also considering applying.

The first stage can begin in the two municipalities. This will help move this long-stalled project forward.

Residents oppose the investigation, however, and the governor of Hokkaido has already said he will refuse to launch the second stage.

The first step should result in the disbursement of up to about $ 19 million in government grants over two years. The following steps cannot be carried out without the agreement of the prefecture.

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