Thursday, July 26, 2012

Contamination Overwhelms Clean Up Efforts in Japan

Majia here: This is a very sad story for three reasons. 

First, it illustrates how difficult it is to successfully decontaminate an area polluted by radiation. 

Second, it illustrates that the problem of storage is now causing the Japanese government to instruct citizens to bury contaminated soil. This means that the cesium contamination is going to end up in the food

Third, the article states that the communities not in the "immediate vicinity of the Fukushima plant" are being required to do their own de-contamination without support and are expected to dispose of all contaminated materials, including soil, without support from the federal government.

I imagine that means that no money or resources are being provided to help deal with the problems of contamination. 

Talk about socializing the losses. How can this be happening?

Here is the article:
Soil issue buried for lack of storage By KAZUMA TARUMI Friday, July 27, 2012. The Japan Times

[Excerpted] At a hamlet in a mountainous area where decontamination was attempted last autumn, airborne radiation was recently found to have returned to 2 microsieverts per hour, the same as it was beforehand and too high for human habitation, local officials said.

"I imagine it's cesium dust coming from the hill behind the village," a local chief lamented. "All we can do is decontaminate the area again, but there is nowhere to store the soil."...

...Anticipating a storage space shortage, the central government has been advocating the "upside-down" method of storage — which actually means burying the tainted topsoil below that excavated from further down, instead of collecting it for storage.

This method has been strongly criticized, especially by those who were forced to leave their hometowns behind.

"This is simply a measure to reduce (radiation)," an official in the deserted Fukushima village of Katsurao angrily said. "It's nothing more than an attempt to conceal radioactive substances."

...Many officials in the designated municipalities said they felt the central government had changed its stance on its responsibilities and involvement in the decontamination process...

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