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Fukushima decontamination near-complete in evacuated areas, so they claim

When you hear the word “decontamination” think of the word “distribution.” Scrapping some contaminated top soil from here to move it there, and again and again ad infinitum.
Full decontamination is just impossible. 80 % of the Fukushima prefecture is forests and woods which are impossible to decontaminate, have therefore not been decontaminated, with loads of accumulated radionuclides there, which carried by the rain and the wind recontaminate any « decontaminated » area.
These 2.6 trillion yen ($23.56 billion) spent over the past five years have been spent totally in vain, they should have use that money to relocate properly all the evacuees from the evacuated zones and from other non evacuated hot spot zones, instead to force the evacuees to return to live in a everlasting radioactive environment, imposing them to live with an annual radiation dose up to 20 millisieverts, which is the international annual radiation maximum dose for nuclear plant workers, not for civilians, not women, children and babies.


evacuation 27 03 2017


SIX YEARS AFTER: Fukushima decontamination near-complete in evacuated areas

Decontamination work in areas covered by the evacuation order from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is expected to conclude this month, paving the way for evacuees from the affected communities to return home.

With the project’s completion, the government’s focus will shift to the cleanup of heavily contaminated areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and infrastructure building.

The areas covered in the Environment Ministry’s decontamination project constitute those in 11 municipalities, including Okuma and Futaba, the two towns co-hosting the nuclear complex.

The decontamination project got under way there in fiscal 2012 to remove soil, fallen leaves and other materials contaminated by radioactive substances primarily in residential areas, roads, and rice paddies and fields.

But the areas collectively known as the difficult-to-return zone where annual radiation doses were estimated to exceed 50 millisieverts as of the end of 2011 and still estimated at more than 20 millisieverts five years after the disaster were excluded from the decontamination work in those 11 local governments.

The cleanup in nine municipalities has already been completed, while the project in the remaining two is expected to finish this month, according to the government.

The completion of the project comes after the Cabinet approved a policy to finish decontamination by the end of March 2017 at a meeting in March 2016.

The evacuation order for Okuma and Futaba will remain in place even though the cleanup project will soon be over.

But the government expects to lift the order for people from the remaining nine municipalities, except for residents from the difficult-to-return zone, by April 1.

That will make the total area remaining under the evacuation order 30 percent of the size six years ago.

According to the ministry, decontamination operations have been carried out in 99 local governments in and outside of Fukushima Prefecture, costing about 2.6 trillion yen ($23.56 billion) over the past five years.

Although the government initially covers the costs of decontamination, it sends the bill to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator.

Despite the cleanup project, many evacuees will likely remain anxious about radiation exposure when they return because forests and woods except for those close to residential areas have not been decontaminated.

The government envisages setting up hubs for rebuilding the difficult-to-return zone by carrying out an intensive cleanup to make the areas habitable by 2022.


March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roaming, Radioactive Boars Slow Return of Japan’s Nuclear Refugees


A wild boar is seen at a residential area in an evacuation zone near Tokyo Electric Power Co’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Namie town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 1, 2017.

The ongoing scourge of Japan’s Fukushima — radiation — is now roaming the disaster-hit area on four legs.

Hundreds of radioactive wild boars moved into deserted towns after the nuclear crisis.

Now they scour the empty streets and overgrown backyards of the Namie town for food, an unexpected nuisance for those returning home six years after the meltdown.

Namie and another town, Tomioka, are within the 20 kilometer exclusion zone from the Fukushima plant and set to partly reopen for nuclear refugees this month.

But the boars have been known to attack people.

Local authorities are hiring teams of hunters to clear out the uninvited guests.


Shoichiro Sakamoto, head of Tomioka Town’s animal control hunters group, patrols at a residential area in an evacuation zone near Tokyo Electric Power Co’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Tomioka town, Fukushima prefecture


After people left, their ecosystem changed,” said local hunter Shoichi Sakamoto. “They began coming down from the mountains and now they aren’t going back. They found plenty of food, and no one will come after them. This is their new home now.”

Since last April 300 animals have reportedly been caught just in Tomioka.

The boars have been destroying local farms and eating plants contaminated with radiation.

Some of the boars tested by the government showed levels of radioactive material 130 times above Japan’s safety standards.

Five towns in Fukushima have partially reopened since the disaster so far.

But three weeks before the evacuation order is to be lifted in Tomioka, the average radiation level is still well above Japan’s goal. Homes are still damaged or abandoned, and the streets are littered with bags of radioactive waste.


March 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Financial crunch time looms for Fukushima’s ‘voluntary evacuees’


People march through the city of Fukushima in December to protest the impending end of housing subsidies for those who fled the nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones.

This month, housing subsidies run out for those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones, and as the clock ticks down, evacuees have had to decide whether to return or move once again.

Many of these so-called voluntary evacuees are mothers seeking to avoid risking their children’s health while their husbands remain in radiation-hit Fukushima Prefecture, according to freelance journalist Chia Yoshida.

This is why the term “voluntary evacuee” is misleading, as it gives the impression that they fled Fukushima for selfish reasons, Yoshida told a news conference in January in Tokyo.

At the same news conference, another journalist proposed using the term “domestic refugee” to describe them.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has been paying the cost of public and private housing for voluntary evacuees under the Disaster Relief Act since the reactors melted down at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The number of evacuees from the disaster, including those from mandatory evacuation areas, peaked at 164,865 as of May 2012, according to the prefectural government.

Its latest tally, conducted earlier this year, shows that 11,321 out of the 12,239 voluntary evacuee households had already decided where to live after April, while 250 had not.

It was back in June 2015 when Fukushima announced the plan to end the rent subsidy this month, saying that decontamination work in the prefecture had advanced and food safety had been achieved.

Still, the central government’s evacuation orders have not been lifted in “difficult-to-return zones,” which include the towns of Futaba and Okuma, home to the crippled nuclear facility.

Those no-entry areas are subject to radiation of over 50 millisieverts per year, compared with the government’s long-term annual target of less than 1 millisievert after decontamination work.

Rika Mashiko, 46, is a voluntary evacuee living in Tokyo. She has decided to rent a house near the Fukushima-paid apartment where she and her daughter, now in elementary school, are currently living so that her daughter will not miss her friends.

Mashiko and her daughter fled Fukushima about two months after the nuclear crisis started, leaving behind her husband in their house in Miharu, located in the center of the prefecture.

Mashiko said many women evacuated from Fukushima with their children, compelled by their instinct as mothers to avoid danger.

Maybe nothing might have happened, but if it had, it would have been too late,” she said.

Mashiko, who first moved to a house in Higashiyamato in eastern Tokyo that was leased for free, said mothers like her who fled the nuclear disaster feel they shouldn’t have to pay their housing costs and are angry at being “victims of the state’s nuclear policy.”

Many voluntary evacuees are financially struggling as they have to cover the double living costs in their hometowns, where typically the fathers remain, and the new places where the mothers and children moved.

In that sense, the free housing has been a “lifeline” for them, particularly in the Tokyo metropolitan area where housing costs are high, according to journalist Yoshida.

In an attempt to extend support to those families, Makoto Yamada, a veteran pediatrician in Tokyo, established a fund with ¥3 million out of his own pocket to help them rent new houses, for example by covering the deposit.

The initiative was the latest example of the support he has been providing to evacuees. Three months after the disaster, he held a counseling session in the city of Fukushima that attracted some 400 people concerned about radiation exposure. He has continued to hold similar sessions in Tokyo.

Yamada, 75, says poor understanding of the plight of voluntary evacuees has also played a role in bullying cases involving evacuee children that have been reported across Japan since last year.

In one high-profile case, a first-year junior high school student in Yokohama was called a “germ” at school, in reference to his supposed exposure to radiation.

Society appears to generally feel that voluntary evacuees have received a lot of money on top of the one-time compensation payment made by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of Fukushima No. 1.

Yamada says if people understood that voluntary evacuees had no wish to leave but felt they had to, such bullying would disappear.

The first financial support from Yamada’s fund went to 10 mothers and their children on Jan. 15. He was surprised to see the recipients shed tears of joy upon receiving ¥200,000 or ¥300,000 each.

Yamada said the government has tried to reduce the number of evacuees from Fukushima in order to claim that their ranks have decreased and that the disaster has been overcome.

Yoshida echoed that view, describing the voluntary evacuees as “people who will be eliminated from history as the government seeks to trivialize the damage from radiation contamination and say their evacuation was unnecessary.”

As long as there are evacuees living outside Fukushima, they will remain a symbol showing the situation has yet to be solved, Yamada said.

If you say ‘we will not forget about Fukushima,’ you should never forget the terror of radiation, bearing in mind that people will not live in safety as long as nuclear plants exist in the world,” he said. “So, I want to continue to think about the evacuees.”

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment