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Radiation-soaked Fukushima town REOPENS to visitors 7 years after meltdown

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December 16, 2018
The town next to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Planet that suffered a devastating meltdown in 2011 has reopened.
Futaba – on the Fukushima Prefecture – was turned into a ghost town after a huge tsunami swamped the nuclear reactors, triggering a massive radiation leak.
But authorities are now planning on reopening the town – despite warnings of worryingly high levels of radiation.
Shortly after the meltdown, all of Futaba was closed off after critical levels above 50 millisieverts of radiation were recorded.
Those hoping to travel there will need to apply for permission to enter before they will be allowed past a checkpoint
It is thought the town could be rebuilt and ready for evacuees to move back in by 2022 provided it reaches government-set safe levels of contamination by the end of the year.
Officials want radiation levels to be below 1 millisievert for people to live there again.
Photographs taken in the last few years of the areas surrounding Fukushima show something out of a post-apocalyptic war zone.
Last year, shocking images emerged of radioactive boars roaming around several towns in the evacuation zone.
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December 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Town that hosts disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant aims to allow daytime access to special zone in 2020

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Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, where restrictions may be lifted to allow daytime access in 2020, is seen in November
December 13, 2018
FUKUSHIMA – One of the municipalities that hosts the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is considering lifting restrictions on daytime access in spring 2020 to an area being rebuilt in the town center, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
The town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, where units Nos. 5 and 6 of the complex are located, became a ghost town after the 2011 disaster due to high levels of radiation. Those wishing to visit need to apply in advance for permission to enter and must pass through a checkpoint.
But such restrictions would be lifted during the daytime for access to a special zone several kilometers from the Fukushima plant on the Pacific coast, where government-funded decontamination and reconstruction work is underway, with the aim of evacuees returning in the spring of 2022.
To lift the restrictions, the town will have to meet government criteria to be unveiled by the end of the year. If realized, the move will pave the way for the town to be rebuilt.
After the massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the whole of Futaba was designated a no-go zone for residents, with radiation levels exceeding 50 millisieverts per year.
The town’s plan to mark the special zone as a reconstruction hub was endorsed by the central government in September last year. The town said at the time that in most of the area radiation levels had fallen below 20 mSv per year, with figures around Futaba Station brought down below 5 mSv per year.
Decontamination work has been conducted to make sure radiation levels will be below 20 mSv per year throughout the special zone by the spring of 2020. The government eventually aims to lower the levels below 1 mSv per year.
The International Commission on Radiological Protection sets radiation exposure under normal situations at 1 mSv per year and says 100 mSv of exposure over a lifetime would increase the possibility of developing cancer by up to 1 percent.
Under emergency situations, the ICRP sets a limit of 20-100 mSv of annual radiation exposure.
In the special zone, which will occupy about 560 hectares, or 10 percent of the town, residential areas and commercial facilities will be built. Futaba envisions some 2,000 residents will eventually live in the area.
With more residents and construction workers expected to come to the area, the town is likely to discuss measures with the central government to beef up surveillance through the use of security cameras or patrols.
Five other municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 plant aim to build similar reconstruction hubs for the return of their own evacuees.
All six municipalities are planning to have evacuation orders lifted in the hub zones by the spring of 2023 but Futaba is the first to announce plans for free access during daytime.
The Fukushima No. 1 plant spewed a massive amount of radioactive materials after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered tsunami that flooded the facility on March 11, 2011.
Reactor Nos. 1 to 3 suffered fuel meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing units Nos. 1, 3 and 4. Reactor Nos. 5 and 6 achieved a cold shutdown after several days.
The disaster left more than 18,000 people dead or missing. As of November, more than 54,000 people were still unable to return to their homes.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Drone footage probably closest evacuees will get to going home

 

gugjh.jpgElementary school pupils in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, watch drone footage of their hometown of Futaba, which they are not permitted to enter due to high levels of radiation, and talk to local officials there via a satellite hookup.

 

hhjl;.jpgChildren living as evacuees are glued to images shot by a drone of their hometown of Futaba during a special presentation at their temporary campus in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 26.

 

jklk.jpgThe children learn about decontamination work under way in Futaba via a satellite hookup during a field trip class held in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, 80 kilometers away from the hometown they were forced to abandon after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

 

November 27, 2018

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–With barely no recollections of growing up in Futaba, a town rendered uninhabitable by the 2011 nuclear disaster, 11 young evacuees had a “homecoming” of sorts on Nov. 26.
The children, fourth- to sixth-graders at two public elementary schools who currently study at a temporary campus in Iwaki, 80 kilometers south of Futaba, attended a special 45-minute presentation in a school gym to watch drone footage of the area where they were born.
A satellite feed allowed the pupils to talk to local officials about efforts to decontaminate the once-bustling community.
Futaba was transformed into a ghost town by the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the earthquake and tsunami disaster. High radiation levels mean that entry still remains restricted.
The children watched aerial footage of scenic spots shot by drones on three 70-inch monitors. Beautiful images of beaches and mountains in fall colors caused them to lean forward and express amazement.
Fifth-grader, Mao Oyano, 11, who has few memories of living in Futaba as she left at the age of 3, expressed surprise at seeing “many more houses than I expected.”
The children fell silent when eerie images appeared of the wrecked nuclear plant.
Ninety-six percent of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the stricken nuclear facility, is located in a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels and remains uninhabited.
Adults must receive permission to enter the area, but children under the age of 15 are not allowed access.
The children were aged between 2 and 4 when they left, and have not set foot in Futaba since then.
Prior to the disaster, Futaba had two elementary schools with 309 pupils. In spring 2014, the town opened a temporary school facility in Iwaki, a coastal city to where many Futaba residents evacuated, but the number of pupils dropped to 31.
The “homecoming” was the school’s first attempt to give the children an opportunity to ponder the tragedy that befell their hometown, according to a school official.
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811270053.html

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

SEVEN YEARS AFTER: Radioactive debris piling up at Fukushima interim facility

March 5, 2018
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Bags containing radioactive soil and other waste are piled up high at an interim storage facility in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 17.
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture–Stacks of soil and other waste contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster continue to grow at an interim storage facility here.
Black bags filled with radioactive debris collected during decontamination work in various locations in the prefecture have been brought to the facility since October, when operations started.
Heavy machinery is used to stack the bags, and green sheets now cover some of the piles.
The town of Futaba co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The interim facility is expected to eventually cover about 1,600 hectares of land in Futaba and Okuma, the other co-host of the plant.
The government has acquired 801 hectares as of Jan. 29, and 70 percent of that space is already covered with contaminated debris.
Negotiations between the government and landowners are continuing for the remaining hectares.
The government plans to move the contaminated debris to a final disposal site outside the prefecture by March 2045. However, it has had difficulties finding local governments willing to accept the waste.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Work starts for industrial site in Futaba near Daiichi plant

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Work has begun near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to prepare an area for a new industrial site.
 
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Sunday in Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, where the disabled plant is located.
 
Speaking at Sunday’s ceremony, Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa said reconstruction work has finally started in the town.
 
He expressed hope that the site would facilitate the town’s recovery and the decommissioning work of the reactors.
 
The town’s first new industrial site since the accident will be built in its northeastern district.
 
‘The district’s relatively low level of radioactive contamination’ is paving the way for the early resettlement of residents and the resumption of business activities.
 
All residents of the town were ordered to evacuate soon after a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that destroyed the plant’s nuclear reactors.
 
The municipality has allocated about 50 hectares for the project. The aim is to make the district partially usable later this year.
 
Reconstruction Minister Masayoshi Yoshino said that along with this project, his ministry plans to decontaminate housing sites so that residents can return.
 
The municipal office says it intends to lease part of the industrial site to companies taking part in the decommissioning of the reactors.
 
The officials say they also plan to set up prefectural archives to preserve records of the 2011 disaster and nuclear accidents. They also plan to build an industrial exchange center where workers can hold meetings and have meals.

January 29, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Town of Futaba kicks off radiation cleanup with eye on 2022 revival

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Decontamination work begins Monday in the town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, to make it habitable again by spring 2022 under a government-led reconstruction project.
FUKUSHIMA – Cleanup work kicked off Monday to make radiation-tainted Futaba, one of the towns hosting the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant, habitable again by around spring 2022 under a government-led recovery project.
Cleanup and demolition crews are trying to decontaminate the town, which was tainted with fallout from the plant’s triple core meltdown after the March 2011 mega-quake and tsunami. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., is shouldering the cost.
The work at Futaba marks the beginning of a series of government-led projects to make areas designated as special reconstruction zones livable again, with an emphasis on new infrastructure.
About 96 percent of Futaba has been designated as “difficult to return to” zone, and an evacuation advisory is still in place for the entire town, which hosts the stricken power plant with neighboring Okuma.
The cleanup will be concentrated in the special reconstruction zone, which covers 555 hectares accounting for 11 percent of Futaba.
“The reconstruction efforts will help motivate residents to return to their homes,” Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa told officials involved in the project.
“We want you to carry out the work while thinking about the feelings of the citizens awaiting the day they can return,” he said.
Overseen by the Environment Ministry, the first steps will involve removing the top layer of soil in the area near Futaba Station, trimming grass along the streets, and dismantling nearly 60 houses and public facilities.
Along with Futaba, seven municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have been designated as zones that are difficult to return to.
The government is aiming to lift the evacuation advisory near Futaba station by the end of March 2020, when the Joban Line plans to fully resume operation.
Some evacuees from Futaba had mixed emotions about the start of the work.
A 69-year-old woman residing in a temporary shelter in Iwaki said that her house is in the special reconstruction zone but that she had given up hope of returning because she evacuated over six years ago.
“If this was two or three years after the disaster, I might have a choice to return. But my house became run-down and I got old. Realistically speaking, I don’t think I can live there now,” she said.
On the other hand, Masamichi Matsumoto, who also fled to Iwaki, welcomed the project, saying, “I’m glad that a step has been taken to rebuild the town for the future.”
He said it is unlikely many citizens will return, partly because a nearby facility will be storing contaminated soil collected from the cleanup work.
“But I hope that Futaba will become a town where people can visit some day,” Matsumoto, 54, added.

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December 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Incineration, Processing and Interim Storage at Okuma-Futaba Facility

As you may see the Mainichi’s article below does mention the incineration which will take place at this facility. The Asahi ‘s article below on the other hand completely omits to talk about the incineration, lying by omission.
The radioactive debris will be first incinerated to reduce their volume to 1/50 of their initial volume, then processed and stored there. The amount of contaminated soil and other waste reaching  up to 22 million cubic meters (metric tons).
However it is important to point out that whatever the type of screening filters used during the incineration they will not retain all the radioactive nanoparticles, that some radioactive nanoparticles will still be released into the air during that incineration.
Thus “storage facility” is a misnomer as it is actually a processing facility before to be a storage facility.
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An intermediate storage facility under construction in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in February, with the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the background
 

Interim storage site for Fukushima contaminated soil to begin full operations

An interim storage site in Fukushima Prefecture for soil and waste generated when areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis were decontaminated will be put into full-scale operation on Oct. 28, Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa said.
Contaminated soil temporarily placed on the premises of the facility, which straddles the prefectural towns of Okuma and Futaba, will be brought into an underground storage site on the property.
The storage site will be the first one in the country to be put into full-scale operation to store contaminated soil and other waste.
“There are numerous challenges that must be overcome, but the start of operations at the facility is an important step toward the final disposal of contaminated soil,” Nakagawa told a news conference on Oct. 24.
The Environment Ministry is constructing the interim storage site on an approximately 16-square-kilometer area around the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Operations at a section of the facility located in Okuma will begin on Oct. 28. After contaminated soil is measured for radiation, the soil will be stored separately at the facility depending on levels of radiation.
Waterproof work has been performed at the site to prevent stored soil from contaminating ground water.
At the site, a plant to incinerate weeds, trees and other flammable materials removed from contaminated soil and a facility to manage incinerated ash containing high levels of radioactive cesium will also be built.
The ministry estimates that the amount of soil and other waste removed from decontaminated sites in the prefecture could reach up to some 22 million cubic meters. Decontamination work is still going on in some areas affected by the nuclear disaster, which broke out in March 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Most of the soil removed from decontaminated areas was put into bags and temporarily stored at various locations in Fukushima Prefecture. Some of the bags have been brought onto the premises for the interim storage site since March 2015.
The central government intends to build a final disposal site outside the prefecture to complete the disposal of contaminated soil by 2045. However, the government has not worked out a specific plan on the final disposal site, such as its location and the timing of its construction.
 

Fukushima debris heading to intermediate storage facility

The Environment Ministry on Oct. 28 will start bringing radiation-contaminated soil to an intermediate storage site in Fukushima Prefecture, despite having acquired less than half of the land needed for the overall project.
The ministry’s announcement on Oct. 24 marks a long-delayed step toward clearing temporary sites that were set up around the prefecture to store countless bags of radioactive debris gathered after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
The entire intermediate storage project will cover a 16-square-kilometer area spanning the towns of Futaba and Okuma around the nuclear plant. It is designed to hold up to 22 million cubic meters of contaminated debris for a maximum period of 30 years.
However, the ministry is still negotiating with landowners on buying parcels of land within the area. As of the end of September, the ministry had reached acquisition agreements for only about 40 percent of the land for the project.
The soil storage facility that will open on Oct. 28 is located on the Okuma side. It has a capacity of about 50,000 cubic meters.
Bags of contaminated soil stored in Okuma will be transferred to the facility, where the debris will be separated based on radiation dosages.
A similar storage facility is being constructed on the Futaba side.
The ministry initially planned to start full-scale operations of the entire storage facility in January 2015. However, it took longer than expected to gain a consensus from local residents and acquire land at the proposed site.
In March 2015, a portion of the contaminated soil was brought to the Okuma facility for temporary storage.

October 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

First ‘hub’ set up in Fukushima no-entry zone to speed rebuilding

Screenshot from 2017-09-20 21-28-38.pngBags of contaminated soil are stored near JR Futaba Station in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture. The area has become part of the government-designated rebuilding hub.

 

An area in the no-entry zone of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, became the first government-designated “rebuilding hub” after the 3/11 disaster.

The designation on Sept. 15 means decontamination will speed up and infrastructure restored so the evacuation order in the town center can be lifted by spring 2022.

Most of Futaba is currently located in a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels. Rebuilding efforts have not started there yet, even six-and-a-half years since the nuclear accident unfolded.

The rebuilding hub covers about 560 hectares of land around Futaba Station, accounting for about 10 percent of the town’s total area. It is almost the same size as an interim storage facility for contaminated soil and other waste that will be built within the town.

The central government will start full-scale decontamination efforts in the hub zone, and plans to initially lift the evacuation order for the area around the station by the end of fiscal 2019 to allow an open thoroughfare and short stays by members of the public.

By spring 2022, the government plans to lift the evacuation order for the entire hub zone. It hopes to bring back 1,400 former residents to the zone by 2027, and also provide homes for about 600 people from outside the town, such as workers at the Fukushima plant.

In the difficult-to-return zone, radiation readings surpassed 50 millisieverts per annum right after the triple meltdown occurred at the plant in 2011. An evacuation order was issued to about 25,000 people in seven municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, covering 33,700 hectares in total.

The difficult-to-return zones have been excluded from the government’s rebuilding efforts. But a related law was amended in May, and the government is now responsible for rebuilding areas that could be made habitable in the near future after decontamination, meaning a radiation reading of 20 millisieverts per year or less.

In late August, Futaba applied to the government to host a designated rebuilding hub. Other municipalities with difficult-to-return zones are now preparing applications for the program.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709150058.html

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Futaba daruma a symbol of hope, nostalgia for Fukushima

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Many people visited a daruma fair to buy Futaba darumas in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Jan. 7.

 

Daruma dolls, traditional round-shaped representations of the Indian priest Bodhidharma used as charms for the fulfillment of special wishes, are typically painted red, the color of his religious vestment, and have black eyebrows and a wispy beard painted on a white face.

But Futaba daruma, produced in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, feature blue-rimmed faces. The blue represents the Pacific Ocean, which stretches to the east of the town.

On the New Year’s Day, many of the townsfolk would go to the seaside to watch the first sunrise of the year turning the vast expanse of water into a sea of shiny gold.

But the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which generated massive tsunami and the catastrophic accident at the nuclear power plant partly located in the town, drastically changed the fate of Futaba.

All of the residents were evacuated. Even now, 6,000 or so townsfolk live in 38 prefectures across the nation.

When I asked evacuees what they missed about life in the town before the nuclear disaster, they cited tea they would drink together with other members of the community after farm work, the local Bon Festival dance and local “kagura,” or sacred Shinto music and dancing. They also talked nostalgically about the rice and vegetable fields which they took great care of, the croaking of frogs, flying fireflies and the sweet taste of freshly picked tomatoes.

What was lost is the richness of life that cannot be bought.

Kaori Araki, who has just celebrated reaching adulthood, cited the smell of the sea. “But what I miss most is my relationships with people,” she added.

After leaving Futaba, Araki lived in Tokyo and Fukui, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures before settling down in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Her current residence is her seventh since she left an evacuation center.

On that day in March 2011, Araki, then a second-year junior high school student, escaped the tsunami with a friend. At a Coming-of-Age ceremony on Jan. 3, she met the friend, who also ended up living in a remote community, for the first time in about six years.

The government plans to ensure that some areas in Futaba will be inhabitable in five years. The municipal government has estimated that the town’s population a decade from now will be between 2,000 and 3,000.

In a survey of heads of families from Futaba conducted last fall, however, only 13 percent of the respondents said they wanted to return to the town.

A daruma fair to sell Futaba daruma started in front of temporary housing in Iwaki on Jan. 7.

The fair has been organized by volunteers since 2012 to keep this local New Year tradition alive. On Jan. 8, special buses brought people to the event from various locations both inside and outside the prefecture. There must have been many emotional reunions at the fair.

There were some green-colored daruma dolls sold at the fair as well. Green is the color of the school emblem of Futaba High School, which is to be closed at the end of March.

I hope that the daruma sold at the fair will help the purchasers fulfill their respective wishes.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701090024.html

 

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Trucks Spreading Unmeasurable Amount of Radiation

In Yamada, Futaba District, Fukushima, trucks carrying waste after decontamination work, go by spreading unmeasurable amount of radiation.

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The Geiger counter hits 9.99 microSv/h which is its limit!

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Recovery effort? Is n’t it better to relocate the entire residents elsewhere safe? In Japan, there are many villages and small towns where they suffer with depopulation.

What they do now is just to keep feeding big contractors, not helping affected people…..

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Source: Oz Yo

 

December 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Work Starts in Fukushima on Intermediate Waste Facility

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The planned site for an intermediate storage facility of radiation-contaminated waste spans the towns of Futaba and Okuma and surround the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Environment Ministry on Nov. 15 started building a facility in Fukushima Prefecture that will store radiation-contaminated debris for up to 30 years, despite obtaining permission for only 11 percent of the site.

The 16-square-kilometer storage facility is expected to hold up to 22 million cubic meters of materials contaminated by radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

I hope that you take pride in this project and cooperate to construct the facility,” Tadahiko Ito, a vice environment minister, told workers.

The facility, which will span the towns of Futaba and Okuma, is expected to start accepting, sorting and storing the debris in autumn 2017 at the earliest, more than two-and-a-half years later than the initial schedule of January 2015.

The project has been delayed because the ministry has faced difficulties buying or borrowing land for the project.

In fact, only 445 of the 2,360 landowners of plots at the site have agreed to sell or lend their properties to the ministry for the storage facility as of the end of October.

Many of the reluctant landowners, who possess 89 percent of the land, fear the contaminated waste will remain at the facility well beyond 30 years.

The government has worked out a bill stipulating that contaminated materials kept in the intermediate storage facility will be moved out of Fukushima Prefecture in 2045. However, the government has yet to decide on the location of the final disposal site.

A huge cleanup operation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant collected tons of radioactive soil and debris.

In March 2015, the ministry borrowed land and created a “temporary storage place” within a 16-square-km site on an experimental basis.

However, only about 70,000 cubic meters of the waste has been taken to the temporary storage site as of the end of October. The remaining waste, exceeding 10 million cubic meters, is being tentatively stored at about 150,000 locations in the prefecture.

If the transportation of contaminated materials to the intermediate storage facility proceeds, the waste currently stored in residential areas and at company compounds will be transported there,” said an official of the Fukushima prefectural government’s section in charge of decontamination.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611150040.html

Work begins on Fukushima nuclear waste site

Construction work has begun in Fukushima Prefecture on intermediate storage facilities for contaminated soil and waste materials from the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in the towns of Futaba and Okuma on Tuesday.

Two facilities will be built in a 16-square-kilometer area that straddles in the towns. One will be used to sort nuclear waste by size and level of contamination, and the other will store the sorted soil.

State Minister for the Environment Tadahiko Ito encouraged workers, saying they should be proud to be working for the region’s revival.

In the first day of work on Tuesday, workers removed contaminated soil from the surface of the site. Full-fledged construction work is to begin in January.

Waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and soil that has been removed in decontamination operations will be stored at the intermediate storage site before it is ultimately disposed of.

The contaminated soil and waste have been kept at temporary sites throughout Fukushima Prefecture longer than the 3 years the government had initially promised local communities. This is because construction of the intermediate storage site was delayed due to a lack of progress in acquiring the land.

The Environment Ministry plans to begin operating the intermediate storage facilities in about a year. It plans to enlarge the site after acquiring more land.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161115_26/

November 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima museum receives pro-nuclear signs for safekeeping

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Workers in protective gear remove the banner lauding nuclear energy in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, in December.

AIZUWAKAMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture—Pro-nuclear propaganda signs that became the ironic symbol of a town evacuated in the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been moved to a museum’s storage ahead of their possible public display as a warning from history.

The Fukushima Museum in this city took over care of the signs this month on behalf of the town government of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The most well-known of the banners, which residents campaigned to save, reads: “Genshiryoku–Akarui Mirai no Energy” (Nuclear power is the energy of a bright future).

Yuji Onuma, a 40-year-old former resident of Futaba who now lives in Kogawa, Ibaraki Prefecture, came up with the slogan as a sixth grader at a Futaba school. The town hall adopted it to promote nuclear energy.

Onuma, who fled the town amid the triple meltdown, said the move to the museum is welcome in terms of keeping them in good condition.

But I am hoping that they will be shown to the public as soon as possible,” he said.

The signboards were removed between December and March along with other panels of slogans promoting nuclear energy in the town. The town government cited the danger of the tall steel structures collapsing because of old age.

They had been kept in a barn wrapped in blankets until the prefectural museum came forward with the offer of storage space early this month.

The signboards will be kept from deteriorating at the museum where the temperature and humidity can be easily adjusted,” a Futaba official said of the transfer to the museum.

The town hall had initially sought to remove and dispose of the prominent signs, saying they were nearly 25 years old and may fall off at any time.

But after the town announced the decision to do so in March 2015, Onuma and other like-minded people scrambled to start a petition to call for their preservation as historically important items.

The signs should be stored and exhibited as a ‘negative legacy’,” said Onuma, who recalled that he had once been proud of co-hosting a nuclear power station as he believed it would lead the town to a promising future.

But after the disaster, he decided he was wrong and switched to the solar power generation business in Kogawa.

In the end, the town government agreed to preserve them after they were removed from the original site.

A Futaba official said the signs could be featured at a facility to pass down the records of and lessons learned from the powerful quake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster which the prefectural government is planning to construct.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610280063.html

October 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment