–The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 28
EDITORIAL: Japan needs to quickly compile road map for decontamination.

The Japanese government has finally decided on a basic framework on how to proceed with the decontamination process of radioactive materials spewed from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The government’s plan, explained to local governments on Aug. 27, is to halve the residents’ exposure within two years, and in the case of children, to reduce it by 60 percent by conducting thorough decontamination procedures in schools and school routes.

The center of the plan is to “reduce, step-by-step and rapidly” the number of areas that will measure 20 millisieverts and higher annually.

However, such a target will not put the residents’ minds at ease.

The government estimates that even without actively doing anything, the amount of radiation exposure will decrease about 40 percent in two years due to rain and wind.

It is too unambitious for the government to say it will achieve only an additional 10-20 percent reduction on its own.

Moreover, the latest framework plan does not tell us, even broadly, when the evacuees can return to their normal lives.

The important thing is to have a comprehensive strategy.

To that end, it is essential to closely ascertain the exact situation of the contamination.

We need to measure it in detail, covering sections whose sides are 100 to 500 meters long.

People evacuated from their homes are also hoping to learn the radiation levels around their houses.

On Aug. 27, Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized to the Fukushima prefectural governor of the possibility that residents of some areas close to the Fukushima nuclear plant will be unable to return to their houses for a long time.

Of course, it may be possible that in areas with the worst levels of contamination, residents may be forced to give up ever returning to their homes.

However, the residents can hardly accept that without sufficient data and some kind of yardstick.

Along with figuring out the actual state of the contamination, the government needs to calculate the cost of the decontamination process and the available level of manpower.

Based on those assessments, the government must hurry to put together a road map that indicates the grand design, and spell out where the process will begin, how it will be conducted and how much time it will take.

Besides, the decontamination work itself must not be haphazard.

In addition to households, public institutions like schools, roads, as well as farms and nearby forests must also be watched. Otherwise, there is no way residents can return to their normal lives.

One major obstacle to the decontamination process is where to store the contaminated topsoil once it is removed.

According to the framework plan, each local government is to set up a temporary storage place, and the central government will be responsible for securing a disposal site.

However, Prime Minister Kan told the Fukushima governor that the central government has no choice but to create the “intermediate storage facility” within Fukushima Prefecture.

Suddenly talking about a new storage facility at this point will only create confusion.

Decontamination is not an easy matter, including securing the disposal site.

The plan must be scrupulous, while also being meticulous about procedure.

And the process must be done swiftly.

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: Uncategorized パーマリンク



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