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Japan:Full decontamination to start in Fukushima in Mar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Laaska news  Dec. 12, 2011

Japan’s Environment Ministry says it will delay the start of full decontamination work for no-entry zones and government-designated evacuation zones in Fukushima Prefecture until late March.

A law taking effect next month requires the state to decontaminate areas with high radiation levels. The restricted areas were designated after the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The government is now conducting a model project to seek effective ways to clean up the contaminated areas.

The Environment Ministry had said it would start decontamination work for these areas in January or later. However, it revealed on Sunday that full decontamination efforts for houses and farmland will begin in late March.

The ministry said it will start decontaminating infrastructure, including roads as well as water and electricity supply systems, in late January.

The ministry said it will take time to get permission from evacuees to decontaminate their homes and agricultural land. It also cited the difficulty of securing temporary storage sites for topsoil removed during decontamination work.

Regarding areas with annual radiation far above 20 millisieverts, the ministry said it will only start decontamination after launching a new model project to decide ways to do so and ensure the safety of workers.

The government is legally obliged to aim to end the transfer of decontaminated soil to temporary storage spots by the end of March 2014, except for areas with particularly high radiation levels.

Laaska News.