福島の除染計画 「1ミリ・シーベルト」への拘りを捨てたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 13, 2013
Don’t stick to ‘1 millisievert’ in decontamination work
福島の除染計画 「1ミリ・シーベルト」への拘りを捨てたい(9月12日付・読売社説)

We want the government to advance its decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture swiftly and efficiently, looking ahead to the early return of residents who are still forced to live as evacuees.

As decontamination work has not been going as planned in municipalities around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Environment Ministry has announced it will revise its decontamination program.

This is because the ministry cannot finish decontamination in seven out of 11 cities, towns and villages where decontamination has been conducted under its direct jurisdiction by the end of March next year, the date it initially scheduled to end the work. The ministry will formulate new programs for each of the seven municipalities within this year at the earliest.

Many owners of land lots that are subject to decontamination have evacuated to different areas, making it difficult to obtain their consent for the work. The ministry has also had trouble gaining residents’ understanding for the establishment of temporary storage sites for removed surface soil. As a result, the ministry does not have clear prospects for constructing interim facilities to store contaminated soil at temporary storage sites in an integrated manner.

Given these circumstances, reviewing the decontamination project is inevitable. The Environment Ministry must tenaciously explain the situation to residents to get their cooperation.

It is also vital to make the decontamination work more efficient. The ministry needs to employ cutting-edge equipment in such efforts as removing surface soil and cleaning road surfaces to speed up the process in general.

In its review of the decontamination project, the ministry has expanded the range of decontamination in forests, in response to residents who asked for a greater area to be cleaned. However, if the residents’ early return is taken into consideration, the decontamination of forests should be limited to areas where people live and surrounding areas.

If forests are decontaminated on a large scale, it will be quite difficult to determine when such work will end and costs will swell out of control. It will also be hard to secure places to store the huge amount of contaminated soil. Removing plants and trees over a wide area brings a danger of sediment disasters such as landslides.

Understanding numbers

Among the 11 municipalities, meanwhile, decontamination work has finished in Tamura. In Naraha, Okuma and Kawauchi, decontamination is expected to be finished within the current fiscal year, which runs through March next year. These municipalities are required to promote such steps as improving infrastructure aimed at rebuilding residents’ lives.

The government has set a maximum annual dose of 20 millisieverts as a guideline for realizing residents’ return to the 11 municipalities, based on a recommendation by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

In keeping with this recommendation, the government’s policy is to lower the guideline over the long term to 1 millisievert or less a year. However, many residents are demanding the standard for returning be set at 1 millisievert or less immediately.

Human beings are exposed to radiation from outer space and the ground every day. A CT scan at a hospital may expose a person to about 8 millisieverts in one test. Also, experts point out that no causal relationship has been established between the development of cancer and accumulated doses of radiation of 100 millisieverts or less in a follow-up study on atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is important for the government to make people well aware of accurate information about radiation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2013)
(2013年9月12日01時31分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-09-14 05:29 | 英字新聞

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