In the year 2000, the Japanese geological disposal program for high-level radioactive waste (HLW) moved from the phase of generic research and development into the phase of implementation. Following legislation entitled the “Specified Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Act” (hereafter “the Act”), the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) was established as the implementing organization in October 2000. The assigned activities of NUMO include repository site selection, developing relevant license applications and construction, operation and closure of the repository. To initiate the first stage, NUMO has chosen an “open solicitation” approach for finding candidate sites in the belief that the support of local communities is essential to the success of this highly public, long-term project extending over more than a century. Based on this concept, NUMO announced the start of open solication for volunteer municipalities for selection of Preliminary Investigation Areas to the public on December 19, 2002. This paper describes NUMO’s open solicitation of volunteer municipalities for a potential disposal site.

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