January 8, 2013

Japan's Fukushima Cleanup is Denounced

Bags of contaminated soil outside the Naraha-Minami school near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
More than a year and a half since the nuclear crisis, much of Japan's post-Fukushima cleanup remains primitive, slapdash and bereft of the cleanup methods lauded by government scientists as effective in removing harmful radioactive cesium from the environment.


For eight hours a day, construction workers blast buildings with water, cut grass and shovel dirt and foliage into big black plastic bags — which, with nowhere to go, dot Naraha's landscape like funeral mounds.

There are no concrete plans about storing the vast amounts of contaminated soil and foliage the cleanup is generating, which the environment ministry estimates will amount to at least 29 million cubic meters, or more than a billion cubic feet.


“This isn’t decontamination — it’s sweeping up dirt and leaves and absolutely irresponsible,” said Tomoya Yamauchi, an expert in radiation measurement at Kobe University who has been helping Fukushima communities test the effectiveness of various decontamination methods.



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