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Fukushima grapples with toxic soil that no one wants

3500Workers at a soil separation facility for decontamination work in Okuma.

 

March 11, 2019

Eight years after the disaster, not a single location will take the millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil that remain

Not even the icy wind blowing in from the coast seems to bother the men in protective masks, helmets and gloves, playing their part in the world’s biggest nuclear cleanup.

Away from the public gaze, they remove the latest of the more than 1,000 black sacks filled with radioactive soil and unload their contents into giant sieves. A covered conveyor belt carries the soil to the lip of a huge pit where it is flattened in preparation for the next load. And there it will remain, untouched, for almost three decades.

It is repetitive, painstaking work but there is no quick way of addressing arguably the most controversial physical legacy of the triple meltdown that occurred eight years ago at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In the years after the disaster, about 70,000 workers removed topsoil, tree branches, grass and other contaminated material from areas near homes, schools and public buildings in a unprecedented ¥2.9tn (£21bn) drive to reduce radiation to levels that would enable tens of thousands of evacuees to return home.

The decontamination operation cleaned generated millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil, packed into bags that carpet large swaths of Fukushima prefecture.

Japan’s government has pledged that the soil will moved to the interim storage facility and then, by 2045, to a permanent site outside of Fukushima prefecture as part of a deal with local residents who do not want their communities turned into a nuclear dumping ground.

But the government’s blueprint for the soil is unravelling: so far, not a single location has agreed to accommodate the toxic waste.

While workers inside the ruined nuclear plant struggle to contain the build-up of more than 1m tonnes of radioactive water, outside, work continues to remove, process and store soil that will amount to 14m cubic metres by 2021.

Read more :

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/11/fukushima-toxic-soil-disaster-radioactive?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3ua2JBzCip-7WHVRsxpAG5yaod-AfbajbNtA3yM8w912h_oKlBHBE11Ys

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March 18, 2019 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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