nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Japan’s costly nuclear radiation cleanup may not work

The mushrooms that used to provide a livelihood for foragers are now steeped in dangerous levels of caesium

Nothing on the same scale had ever been attempted before. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, highly contaminated houses were entombed in concrete and the surrounding area was abandoned.

By contrast, Japan’s government is attempting to bring background radiation levels [down]

“Decontamination in the true sense of the word is not being carried out,”     ”I think the government recognises that Fukushima cannot be returned to how it was.” 

text ionisingflag-japanINSIGHT – JAPAN’S NUCLEAR CLEAN-UP: COSTLY, COMPLEX AND AT RISK OF FAILING YAHOO 7 NEWS, 15 AUG 13 BY SOPHIE KNIGHT  KAWAUCHI, Japan (Reuters) – The most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted has proved costly, complex and time-consuming since the Japanese government began it more than two years in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. It may also fail.

Doubts are mounting that the effort to decontaminate hotspots in an area the size of Connecticut will succeed in its ultimate aim – luring more than 100,000 nuclear evacuees back home.

If thousands of former residents cannot or will not return, parts of the farming and fishing region could remain an abandoned wilderness for decades.

In many areas, radiation remains well above targeted levels because of bureaucratic delays and ineffective work on the ground. As a result, some experts fears the $15 billion allocated to the scheme so far will be largely squandered.

The deep-seated problems facing the clean-up are both economic and operational, according to a Reuters review of decontamination contracts and interviews with dozens of workers, managers and officials involve……….

The mushrooms that used to provide a livelihood for foragers are now steeped in dangerous levels of caesium. ………..  While the elderly used to make up a third of the town, they now account for 70 percent of residents.

The same pattern has played out across Fukushima as the nuclear accident turned the slow drip of urban flight by younger residents into a torrent, creating a demographic skew that decontamination is unlikely to reverse.

Kawauchi is one of the 11 townships that were most heavily contaminated after the accident, when rain and snow showered radioactive particles onto the verdant hills here as the plume from the plant passed overhead. Half of it lies in the still-evacuated area where the national government has assumed control of the clean-up……..

Japan’s plan to scrub clean the area around Fukushima and remove radioactive debris was beset by difficulties from the beginning.

Nothing on the same scale had ever been attempted before. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, highly contaminated houses were entombed in concrete and the surrounding area was abandoned.

By contrast, Japan’s government is attempting to bring background radiation levels in the most highly contaminated evacuation zone to an average of 1 millisievert per year once all the work is completed…………. In an attempt to reach the tougher radiation target, thousands of temporary workers have been put to work scrubbing houses and roads, digging up topsoil and stripping trees of leaves into which invisible caesium particles have wormed.

Few of the hundreds of companies and small firms involved have any experience with radiation. Some workers have said they have been told to flush contaminated leaves away in rivers by supervisors to speed the job up and reduce waste, since storage remains a problem….. Some experts are doubtful about the payback of that effort. First, there is a risk that radioactive isotopes can return to decontaminated areas via wind and rain. Officials in the village of Yugawa found snowfall earlier this year caused radiation levels to spike……. “The truth of the matter is that from the European experience (after Chernobyl), remediation factors are disappointing,” said David Sanderson, a professor of environmental science at the University of Glasgow and an expert in radiation who has made numerous trips to Fukushima to map the fallout.

“And it’s very expensive. I fear there’s a chance the experience in Japan might be pointing to the same conclusion. Unless it succeeds in putting people back in their homes, the benefit is difficult to see.”……….. There is also the problem of storage. Most of the contaminated soil and leaves remain piled up in driveways and empty lots because of fierce opposition from local communities to storing it in one place until the Ministry of Environment secures a central site that could hold it for the longer term.

Residents of Tamura, a village in the evacuated zone, were encouraged recently to begin preparing to return to their decontaminated houses – armed with Geiger counters. Some areas still show radiation at twice the target level.

“Decontamination in the true sense of the word is not being carried out,” said Tomoya Yamauchi, a professor of radiation physics at Kobe University. Yamauchi said he found that some decontaminated road surfaces in Fukushima had readings 18 times the target level because caesium had accumulated in cracks in the asphalt.

“I think the government recognises that Fukushima cannot be returned to how it was.” http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/-/world/18506729/insight-japans-nuclear-clean-up-costly-complex-and-at-risk-of-failing/

 

Advertisements

August 16, 2013 - Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2013, Japan

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: