January 8, 2013

Fukushima cleanup crews dump waste in rivers


According to Japan's Asahi Shimbun, cleanup crews working near the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, "dumped soil and leaves contaminated with radioactive fallout into rivers."

The allegation, supported by photographs, was made in the three-part report "Crooked Cleanup," published on Friday on the Japanese newspaper's English-language site, Asia and Japan Watch.
A team of journalists who observed the decontamination work in the region last month added: "Water sprayed on contaminated buildings has been allowed to drain back into the environment. And supervisors have instructed workers to ignore rules on proper collection and disposal of the radioactive waste."
Workers were apparently aware that they were breaking rules, the paper reported:
From Dec. 11 to 18, four Asahi reporters spent 130 hours observing work at various locations in Fukushima Prefecture. At 13 locations in Naraha, Iitate and Tamura, workers were seen simply dumping collected soil and leaves as well as water used for cleaning rather than securing them for proper disposal. Photographs were taken at 11 of those locations.
The reporters also talked to about 20 workers who said they were following the instructions of employees of the contracted companies or their subcontractors in dumping the materials. A common response of the workers was that the decontamination work could never be completed if they adhered to the strict rules.
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