Insight: Fukushima Danger

Six years after the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged central and northern Japan, the clean up at the decimated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is making slow progress. Once hailed as a cleaner route to electric power the building of new reactors has slowed in Europe but is accelerating in China. Insight looks at the high stakes world of nuclear power

 

 

 

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Fukushima native replaces reconstruction minister after quake gaffe

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Fukushima native replaces disaster minister after quake gaffe

Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister Masahiro Imamura resigned Wednesday, a day after saying it was “a good thing” the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan rather than the Tokyo area.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked Masayoshi Yoshino, a House of Representatives member from Fukushima Prefecture and the chairman of a special lower house committee on disaster reconstruction, to replace Imamura.

“I severely troubled and hurt people in (northeastern Japan),” Imamura told reporters at Abe’s office after submitting his resignation, which the prime minister accepted immediately.

“I apologize from my heart for my lack of virtue,” he added, while rejecting calls to also resign as a lawmaker.

Abe also apologized, both to the residents of areas recovering from disasters and the Japanese public as a whole, after accepting Imamura’s resignation.

Imamura made the “good thing” comment at a function in Tokyo for a faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which Abe was also attending, on Tuesday evening. He immediately retracted the remark and apologized, but the damage was done.

The lawmaker made the remark after citing a figure of 25 trillion yen ($225 billion) for the damage to social capital and other infrastructure from the March 2011 disaster.

“It’s a good thing it was over there in the northeast. If it had been close to the greater Tokyo area, there would have been vast, enormous damage,” he said.

The disaster left 15,893 people dead and 2,553 still listed as missing, the National Police Agency said in its latest tally.

Imamura, 70, prompted calls for his resignation earlier this month when he suggested people displaced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the quake should fend for themselves.

A native of Saga Prefecture in Japan’s southwest, Imamura was given his post in a Cabinet reshuffle in August last year.

His 68-year-old replacement Yoshino, a fellow LDP lawmaker and former senior vice environment minister, hails from Iwaki, a city in Fukushima on the Pacific coast that bore the brunt of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

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“My own home was damaged by the tsunami, and my campaign office was completely destroyed, so I think I understand better than anyone else the feelings of those affected by the disaster,” Yoshino said at his first press conference as a Cabinet minister later Wednesday.

The choice of a Fukushima local apparently reflects the administration’s desire to avoid further criticism that the reconstruction minister is unable to relate to people affected by the disaster.

Imamura’s resignation prompted the main opposition Democratic Party and three smaller opposition parties to also seek his resignation as a lawmaker.

The opposition demanded holding Diet committee sessions to pursue Abe’s responsibility in the matter.

The LDP and Democratic Party agreed Wednesday to hold such a session in the lower house on May 8. They are expected to arrange a House of Councillors committee session on May 9 or near that date.

The opposition parties had essentially threatened not to turn up for Diet deliberations until such a date was fixed.

Imamura’s resignation follows a series of blunders by Cabinet ministers and has dealt another blow to the government at a time when it is already facing issues that risk splitting public opinion.

The Diet is deliberating a bill to criminalize conspiracy to commit serious crimes, ostensibly to combat terrorism, which opponents say could result in the suppression of civil liberties.

Public sensitivity also surrounds a special bill in the works to enable the abdication of Emperor Akihito.

The string of embarrassments prompted Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, to warn last week the administration is “strikingly lacking in a sense of alertness.”

Yamaguchi spoke after LDP lawmaker Toshinao Nakagawa resigned as parliamentary vice minister of economy, trade and industry amid media reports of extramarital affairs.

The week before that, regional revitalization minister Kozo Yamamoto, another LDP lawmaker, called curators of cultural properties a “cancer” that needs to be “eradicated,” before being forced to apologize and retract the remark.

“(The administration) must take seriously the suggestions that we are becoming slack,” Abe acknowledged Wednesday in his apology over Imamura’s resignation, vowing to “win back the public’s trust.”

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/04/43790ecd62a8-update5-fukushima-native-replaces-disaster-minister-after-quake-gaffe.html

 

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Disaster minister quits after quake gaffe, Fukushima rep takes over

Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister Masahiro Imamura resigned Wednesday, a day after saying it was “a good thing” the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan rather than the Tokyo area.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked Masayoshi Yoshino, a House of Representatives member from Fukushima Prefecture and a former senior vice environment minister, to replace Imamura.

Imamura tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday morning and the prime minister accepted it immediately.

“I severely troubled and hurt people in (northeastern Japan),” Imamura told reporters at the prime minister’s office after submitting his resignation.

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“I apologize from my heart for my lack of virtue,” he added, while rejecting calls to also resign as a lawmaker.

Abe also apologized, both to the residents of areas recovering from disasters and to the Japanese public at large, after accepting Imamura’s resignation.

Imamura made the “good thing” comment at a function in Tokyo for a faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which Abe was also attending, on Tuesday evening. He immediately retracted the remark and apologized, but the damage was done.

Imamura had prompted calls for his resignation earlier this month when he suggested people displaced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the quake should fend for themselves.

The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party on Wednesday said Imamura’s resignation is not enough on its own.

“This brings into question Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s responsibility for having appointed (Imamura),” Renho said at a party meeting.

Abe acknowledged that this responsibility lies with him in his apology. “(The administration) must take seriously the suggestions that we are becoming slack,” Abe said, vowing to “bring back the public’s trust.”

Imamura, a native of Saga Prefecture in Japan’s southwest, was given his post in a Cabinet reshuffle in August last year.

His replacement Yoshino hails from Iwaki, a city in Fukushima on the Pacific coast that bore the brunt of damage in the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

“I have been making reconstruction my life, so I’m happy to be given a challenging post,” Yoshino told reporters at the LDP’s head office in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.

Imamura’s resignation has prompted the suspension of House of Representatives proceedings scheduled for Wednesday morning and most of the House of Councillors proceedings scheduled for Wednesday.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/04/e8335852ad1d-update2-disaster-minister-quits-after-quake-gaffe-fukushima-rep-takes-over.html

Utility seeks to restart two reactors in Fukui from mid-May

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The Takahama Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 3 reactor, left, and No. 4 reactor are pictured in this file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, on June 15, 2016.

FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Kansai Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it will seek to restart its two idled reactors in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, in mid-May and early June, respectively.

Shigeki Iwane, the utility’s president, presented the plan to reboot the two units at the Takahama plant on the Sea of Japan coast when meeting with Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa.

“It is correct that (Kansai Electric Power) will take procedures to start operations,” Nishikawa told reporters after the meeting.

Kansai Electric Power will start to load nuclear fuel at the No. 4 unit later this month, eyeing the start of electricity generation in late May while aiming to reactivate the No. 3 reactor in early June after fueling the facility in mid-May, according to the schedule released by the Osaka-based company.

Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has been promoting the restart of nuclear reactors across Japan, most of the reactors remain offline amid safety concerns among residents following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

The two reactors in Takahama were brought back online in early 2016 after meeting the safety requirements introduced after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

While the No. 4 unit was shut down immediately after its restart in February last year due to a technical problem, the No. 3 reactor was forced to go offline the following month in the wake of an Otsu District Court order that resulted from a lawsuit filed by residents in neighboring Shiga Prefecture.

In March this year, the Osaka High Court struck down the lower court’s decision, making it possible for the two reactors to resume operation.

Among the four units at the Takahama plant, Japan’s nuclear regulators approved June last year the utility’s plan to extend the operation of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170426/p2g/00m/0dm/001000c

Japan reconstruction minister quits after inappropriate comment on disaster zone

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The Japanese cabinet minister overseeing reconstruction of areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster resigned on Wednesday after saying it was better the disaster struck the northeastern region instead of Tokyo.

Masahiro Imamura was forced to quit after remarks he made on Tuesday at a party for ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and is the latest in a spate of ruling party lawmakers in trouble for their comments or behavior.

Speaking of the costs incurred in the 9.0 earthquake that set off a massive tsunami and left nearly 20,000 dead or missing, Imamura said: “It was better that this happened in the northeast.”

The comments came just weeks after Imamura set off a furor at a news conference by disparaging people who left Fukushima out of fear after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, then shouting at a reporter and storming out of the room.

Imamura’s comments prompted an immediate rebuke from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who apologized on his behalf. His swift resignation was seen aimed at minimizing the damage to Abe’s government, which has been accused of complacency in the absence of a viable opposition.

“It was an extremely inappropriate comment and hurtful to people in the disaster zone, an act causing the people a reconstruction minister works for to lose trust in him, ” Abe told reporters after Imamura resigned.

The subject still touches a raw nerve because regional businesses have struggled to recover and reconstruction work has been slow. Many evacuee families have also given up hope of returning to their home towns.

Shunsuke Mutai, a deputy reconstruction minister, drew fire last year after forcing a subordinate to carry him on his back so his feet could stay dry as he visited a flooded area. He quit in March on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the March 11 disaster after making a joke about the incident.

A week ago the vice minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshinao Nakagawa, was forced to resign from his position after news broke of an extramarital affair. He later resigned from the LDP.

Abe’s support currently hovers around 50 percent despite a series of recent scandals, including one involving a nationalist school. He has a shot at becoming Japan’s longest-serving leader after party rule chances allow him to serve a third consecutive three-year term after his current tenure ends in 2018.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-politics-resignation-idUSKBN17S07R

Survey: 80% of voluntary Fukushima disaster evacuees outside pref. unwilling to return home

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A group of evacuees offer silent prayers for earthquake and tsunami victims at an evacuation centre in Soma, Fukushima prefecture on May 11, 2011.

80% of voluntary Fukushima evacuees unwilling to return home – survey

A vast majority of Fukushima voluntary evacuees are not planning to move back to their homes out of fear of radiation despite the government declaring living conditions in the prefecture to be “good”, a new government survey has discovered.

Some 78.2 percent of “voluntary” evacuees households have no intention of returning to their previous places of residence and plan to “continue living” in the area they had evacuated to, results of a Fukushima Prefectural Government survey released on April 24 show.

Only 18.3 percent of households said they intended to move back to the Fukushima prefecture.

On their own accord, some 12,239 households left areas that were not covered by the government’s evacuations orders that were issued following the tsunami and the subsequent meltdown of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Unlike people who were forced to relocate under evacuation orders, voluntary evacuees only received a fraction of the payment of at least 8.5 million yen ($77,300) that the government offered in compensation to mandatory evacuees.

For six years, most of them lived in other parts of Japan through government sponsored subsidies which ended in March this year after the government claimed that the “living environment (in Fukushima Prefecture) is in good order.”

Despite the official assessment, the environmentally wary refugees “still worry about radiation, and many of them have shifted the foundations of their lives to the places they’ve evacuated to,” the prefectural official in charge of the survey told Mainichi, Japan’s national daily.

Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori pledged to work closely with local governments where the evacuees’ old and new homes are located to help them.

It’s essential to respect the evacuee’s intentions” about returning home, Uchibori told reporters after the release of the survey. “However, we will work to create an environment where people can live with peace of mind, so evacuees can return home in the future.”

https://www.rt.com/news/386153-voluntary-fukushima-evacuees-survey/

80% of voluntary Fukushima disaster evacuees outside pref. won’t move back: survey

FUKUSHIMA — Some 80 percent of voluntary Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees now living in other areas of Japan have no intention of returning, results of a Fukushima Prefectural Government survey released on April 24 show.

The prefecture ended a housing subsidy for voluntary evacuees at the end of March this year, stating that the “living environment (in Fukushima Prefecture) is in good order” due to ongoing decontamination work and other factors.

Voluntary evacuees “still worry about radiation, and many of them have shifted the foundations of their lives to the places they’ve evacuated to,” the prefectural official in charge of the survey said.

The survey covered 12,239 voluntary evacuee households that had been receiving the prefectural housing subsidy, of which 5,718 households had left Fukushima Prefecture. A total of 4,781 supplied answers to the prefecture regarding where they intended to live in the future, 78.2 percent of which stated that they would “continue living” in the area they had evacuated to. Another 3.5 percent stated that they would move, but not back to Fukushima Prefecture. Only 18.3 percent of respondent households said they intended to move back to the prefecture.

However, only 23.6 percent of voluntary evacuees living in Fukushima Prefecture said they would stay in their current locations, while 66.6 percent said they hope to return to their pre-disaster homes.

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori told reporters at an April 24 news conference, “It’s essential to respect the evacuees intentions” about returning home. “However, we will work to create an environment where people can live with peace of mind, so evacuees can return home in the future.”

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170425/p2a/00m/0na/003000c

The scandalous deficiency of the health scheme in Fukushima

Taro Yamamoto of the Liberal Party, member of the House of Councilors, accused the double standard of the the public radioprotection policy during his questions at the Special Commission of Reconstruction of the House of Deputies on March 21, 2017. He compared the health examination scheme introduced by Ibaraki prefecture to its population after the JCO* criticality accident to that currently available to Fukushima residents. The result shows the utter deficiency of the latter in spite of the fact that the Fukushima accident is classified as level 7, much more severe than the JCO level 4 accident.

We are publishing here the transcription of Taro Yamamoto’s questions** as well as the soil contamination map of Kashima and Haramachi districts of Minamisoma where the evacuation order was lifted in July 2016. The map is provided by the civil measurement group called “Fukuichi*** Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project”**** composed mainly of residents of Minamisoma which has been taking measurements of soil contamination in the vicinity of the members’ neighborhoods and in residential areas since 2012. Taro Yamamoto has already used their maps during another session of the Special Commission of Reconstruction. Let us note that in the map uploaded here, there are only two rectangles where the contamination density is lower than 40,000Bq/m2, and that for the rest of Kashima and Haramachi districts, the density is amazingly higher. As Taro Yamamoto indicated during his questions on November 18 last year, according to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards a zone is called a Radiation Control Zone when the surface density is over 40,000Bq/m2. In a Radiation Control Zone, following the Ordinance, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours. To leave the zone, one has to go through a strict screening. The map shows that most of the two districts of Minamisoma city are in this situation. But it is not classified as Radiation Control Zone. On the contrary, people are told to go back there to live, including children.

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Measurement devices : scintillation radiometers
Hitachi Aloka TCS172B
Dose rate of airborn radiation at 1 m, 50 cm, 1 cm from the ground. Unit : µSv/h
Hitachi Aloka TGS146B
Calculation of the rate of surface contamination, 1 cm from the ground. Unit : cpm
Procedure for measuring soil samples
Ram a tube in the ground (diam. : 80 mm, h : 50 mm), collect the soil and measure.
For TCS172B/TGS146B, wait for stabilisation, measure 5 times,then take the average value.
Insert ★ where the soil was collected.
Analysis device:
Canberra NaI Scintillation Detector (10 or 20 min)
According to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards and Industrial Safety and Health Law, places where the effective dose reaches 1.3mSv in 3 months (approximately 0.6µSv/h of airborne radioactivity) or 40,000Bq/m2, in terms contamination density, are designated as a ‘’Radiation Control Zone’’ and public entry must be severely restricted.

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Transcription of the questions of Taro Yamamoto

Taro Yamamoto

In Japanese history, except for the TEPCO Fukushima accident, are there other cases of population evacuation due to a nuclear accident?

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. According to our understanding, as for the case of population evacuation due to a nuclear disaster in Japan, except for the cases of TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi and Daini that you pointed out, there is the case of the criticality accident of the JCO Tokai plant.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

Thank you.

That was 18 years ago, on September 30, 1999. The criticality accident occurred in a uranium reprocessing facility for the experimental fast breeder reactor fuel, operated by JCO, in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. The nuclear fission chain reaction continued for about 20 hours. The radiation went through the walls, reaching the surrounding environment. 150 people within a 350-meter radius were evacuated and the confinement recommendation was given to inhabitants and shops within a 10km radius. On the spot, since the central government delayed to react, the village mayor at the time decided to evacuate the residents upon his responsibility. This is the first case of population evacuation due to a nuclear accident in Japan. It was a severe accident where two workers died, and the rescue members as well as residents in the neighborhood area were irradiated.

Here is my question. How many people were recognized as being irradiated in this accident.

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. According to the report dated March 2000 by the Health Management Committee established by the Nuclear Safety Commission at the time, as for the civil population, there are 7 people for who we have a real value of irradiation, and 200 people for who the dose of radiation is estimated. Among these people, 119 people received more than 1mSv either measured or estimated.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

According the central government, it is 119 people. But Ibaraki prefecture, following the radio security administration of Ibaraki prefecture, reported 666 irradiated people including those who received less than 1mSv. This is more than 5 times of the figure reported by the central government. I suppose that the central government does not want to recognize as many. However, Ibaraki prefecture, recognizing that the local government caused the damaged to its population, reported this figure.

Thereafter, Ibaraki prefecture created a fund of ¥300,000,000 to allow the irradiated population or those who were in doubt to be irradiated access to a heath examination. It concerns around 500 people. Its characteristic consists of the fact that it covers those who are born in 1999, the year of the accident, until they reach 82 years old. In other words, it is conceived to assure free health exminations through their entire life.

Please look at page 2 of document A to see what kind of health examinations the neighboring population can take since the JCO accident. They are quite extensive. It has been the accepted Ibaraki prefectural policy after the JCO accident. Even cancer examinations have been added. These examinations are accessible to those who are not recognized as irradiated, and who were exposed to the additional radiation of under 1mSv. They are open to those who stayed there temporarily because of their work or school, or those who have evacuated from Ibaraki prefecture since the accident.

Please show the next Figure.

Please don’t talk about the circumstances. Please answer in terms of the accident level. In which level is the JCO accident classified? Likewise, in which level is TEPCO Fukushima nuclear plant accident classified?

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. As for the JCO criticality accident, the Science and Technology Agency at the time evaluated the accident as level 4. Concerning the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency as well as the Nuclear Safety Commission at the time evaluated the emission of radioactive substances and consequently rated the accident as level 7.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

Let’s go over this again. JCO is classed as level 4, it was a level 4 accident. The TEPCO Fukushima nuclear power plant accident is a level 7 accident. With the JCO accident of level 4, with the additional radiation of 1mSv, the authority promised a lifetime access to health examinations including cancer examinations. Yet, in the case of the TEPCO Fukushima nuclear power plant accident of level 7, the population is told to return to the region when the annual dose of radioactivity becomes lower than 20mSv/year, since it is then considered as safe. The housing aid is cut, since there is no necessity of evacuation.

To those who would say that they are not comparable, I would like to ask the following. Currently, in Japan, after a nuclear accident, with 1mSv of additional irradiation, are health examinations offered free during a lifetime? With an accident of level 4, you can have lifetime free examinations including cancer examinations. Yet, with level 7 accident, there aren’t. Look here! Which of these two accidents is more severe?

What is the reason, in the case of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident, not to offer free lifetime health examinations including cancer examinations with additional radiation of 1mSv? Is it because of financial reasons? Is it because it can be installed for a small number of the concerned population of Tokai village, but not in the case of TEPCO nuclear power plant accident, because there will be too many people to be examined and thus will cause financial problems, or even financial breakdown? Is it because it is not practically feasible? Is that why? Then, it is not a scientifically based judgment. This is a financially, efficiency based judgment.

After the dispersion of contamination due to the nuclear accident, Japan has adopted a new standard. It considers it normal to live an everyday life in the area if the dose of radioactivity is under 20mSv/year. The government says that it will make efforts to lower the level to 1mSv/year. Then I asked: how long does it take to lower the level of airborne radioactivity of the contaminated area to 1mSv/year? They are not even embarrassed to answer that they are not supposed to carry out such a calculation.

I asked if this was considered permissible before the accident, if it was allowed by the scientific standards before the accident. The bureaucrats’ answer was: “ this is a new challenge “. I think it is not a very elaborated approach for revitalization. It seems like the authorities have started cleaning up the damage to turn the page, to deny the accident. I suppose that there are people who say “that is not correct”. Some people might consider that the public support after the TEPCO accident is as solid as the support of the Tokai village aftermath, to make the people feel safe and secure.

Let us then see now what kind of medical support is available in Fukushima.

In the case of the Fukushima resident health investigations, only the thyroid cancer examination for those under 18 years old at the time of the accident, and a questionnaire survey for pregnant women are available to the population of Fukushima prefecture. Other than these two, health examinations are available only to those from evacuation zones. This includes a usual obesity examination offered to those over 40 years old all over Japan, plus blood tests including leukocyte fraction analysis.

Isn’t this health examination scheme too poor compared to the one of Tokai village? Besides, it is limited to those who are from the areas that have been classified as evacuation zones. In other words, if you are living in Fukushima prefecture, you can hardly have sufficient medical support, except for in limited areas. In the case of the JCO level 4 accident, one has a guarantee of a lifetime health examination at 1mSv of additional irradiation, and you still can have access to health examinations even if you are exposed to radiation under 1mSv. Yet in the case of the level 7 TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident, the support is so much inferior. Mr Minister, it seems to me that the difference of treatment is too much.

There are other things I would like to ask. So please give me a short answer. I think that the gap is too much. In terms of the accident level, Fukushima is more severe. But Tokai village offers a significantly more extensive support. On the other hand, the Fukushima support seems to be too feeble.

Sorry, I am running out of the time. I am going to skip that question, and go forward to other questions.

I would like to ask the following to the Minister. Who is responsible for this situation? The minimum compensation that the State and TEPCO, – who left the cause of the severe accident unattended -, should offer to the population should at least equal to the one offered in the Tokai village case. The central government should suggest it to Fukushima prefecture.

Besides, in the countries where there have been severe nuclear disasters, sanitary vacations are common practice. Their purpose is to reduce the internal irradiation. At least, we should invest in sanitary vacation programs open to the population of Fukushima prefecture.

Lastly, the end of the housing support for the auto-evacuees from the areas outside of the evacuation zones, which is in two weeks time, is the same as the order of forced return. It shouldn’t be just ‘’return’’ and ‘’should return’’. People ought to have the right to choose. The options are: remain or evacuate. In both cases, the State should give compensation and support.

Please give me your answer on the three points.

Minister (Masahiro Imamura)

You mentioned the levels. I suppose that I don’t have to answer. I think it covers different viewpoints including the accident scale.

Concerning the health problem, Fukushima prefecture is carrying out the Fukushima resident health investigation using the allocation. We have the intention to guide the prefecture to use this efficiently so that we can avoid the health hazards.

About the housing aid, as I have already answered, in spite of specific circumstances, the big majority of people have already returned to Fukushima. As for those who have not returned yet, I suppose that they have their specific situations. We will back up the prefecture to listen to them and carry out the program.

  • Chairman (Mitsuru Sakurai)

Your time is up.

ŸTaro YAMAMOTO

Yes, I conclude.

There are more than 25,000 empty apartments for public servants in Japan. I strongly suggest that they are offered to those who would like to continue the evacuation. Please maintain the housing aid. Mr Minister, I sincerely hope you do. I count on you. Thank you very much.

____

* formerly Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co.

** Published in Taro Yamamoto’s official site :
参議院議員山本太郎オフィシャルサイト :

Footage of the question :
質問ビデオ :

***Fukuichi is short for Fukushima Daiichi

**** Fukuichi shûhen kankyôhôshasen monitoring project

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/the-scandalous-deficiency-of-the-health-scheme-in-fukushima/

Tests to start on radioactive soil for use in reconstruction

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Bags of radioactive soil in a temporary storage site in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, will eventually be transported to an interim storage facility.

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–The Environment Ministry is exploring the idea of reusing tons of radioactive soil as gravel to rebuild infrastructure in this disaster-stricken prefecture and beyond.

To gauge the feasibility of the project, it will conduct tests on whether contaminated soil can be securely contained without spillage while controlling the level of radioactivity.

The experiment is being conducted in a corner of a temporary storage site in the Odaka district here, just north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power plant.

If the tests go off without a hitch, the government is looking at reusing the soil as a construction material in recovery efforts.

Bags of soil gathered through decontamination efforts are kept at temporary storage sites around the Fukushima plant, which went into triple meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The first phase of the experiment involves 1,000 or so bags of contaminated soil that have to be sorted according to levels of concentration of radioactive cesium.

Radioactive soil with readings of about 2,000 becquerels per kilogram will be used for mock-up construction of seawalls and other structures. The soil will then be covered by fresh soil that is not contaminated.

The test will also explore practical safety management issues, including ways to prevent scattering of contaminated soil and keeping track of measurements of radioactivity of structures once they are completed.

Project workers began opening bags and sorting soil on April 24.

The volume of contaminated soil collected within Fukushima Prefecture amounted to a whopping 16 million cubic meters as of the end of January.

It will be kept at an interim storage facility that has been constructed within the jurisdiction of the towns of Futaba and Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture. Within the next 30 years, the soil is supposed to be transported outside the prefecture for final disposal.

The Environment Ministry said it hopes the tests will show that the plan to reuse radioactive soil in construction is safe. Projects under consideration include building foundations for seawalls and roads. The overall aim is to reduce the amount of soil that will need to be processed for final disposal.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704250038.html