Saturday 8 October 2011

The Clean Up starts

Hi folks
Thanks for all the comments on my last post, Radiation 5. Difficult I know. According to the TV news yesterday, even the experts wouldn't come up with any definite new standards, just said 20 mSv/yr is OK for now but needs to be brought down in stages (as the Clean Up progresses) back to 1 mSv/year.

Last Friday, 30 September, the ban on the Evacuation Readiness Zone (hinan junbi kuiki  避難準備区域)the 20 - 30 km band around Fukushima Daiichi, was lifted. But most residents seem puzzled by the decision and are not rushing back. It's not as if radiation levels had dropped or the area's been cleaned up. Some sceptics say it's to cut compensation costs. Maybe it's because all three reactors are now down to 100 degrees C so in theory we have cold shutdown. Residents in Minami Soma seem to acting with enthusiasm cleaning up the schools but residents from other areas want more monitoring and proper cleaning before they move back, next March at least. The governor has persuaded the government to invest in medical facilities since the social infrastructure is no longer there.

And then there are the cows. Hundreds of wild cows are roaming free in the 20 mile no-go zone, some wandering into the 20-30 km zone, terrorising the locals.

The Clean Up (josen 除染)is the main focus here. Minister Hosono said at first that the government would only pay to clean areas over 5 μSv/hr. The rest we would have to do ourselves. The governor put him straight and he agreed that the government would foot the total bill. But in the first draft of the 3rd Supplementary Budget passed by the Cabinet today only 20 billion yen (at 130 yen/GBP, that's 153 million GBP) has been allocated to the Clean Up which doesn't seem much for such a large area. The TV is full of pictures of workers hosing down roofs and walls of houses. One does wonder where all the water goes.  And then there's the still unresolved problem of where to put the contaminated mud and soil. It's illegal to move it so the soil removed from school playgrounds sits in heaps in a corner of the school yard covered with blue sheet, and sewage facilities have ever increasing areas filled with bags of radioactive sludge.

As for me, I now have two jobs, Chairman of Tohoku Kogyo, the box factory (an honorary position) and CEO of four other small companies. So I spend my day going backwards and forwards between two offices. Tohoku Kogyo is now settled into Rengo's old Koriyama factory with nice offices and a spacious factory. The other companies have been based in one room of the old offices. It's been an odd few weeks running the other companies from one room in an empty building and dealing with the salvage people. Now everything has been removed from the factory. The huge pile of rubbish has gone. All that is left is the shell of the building. Next step demolition. We're moving to a temporary office next Tuesday so the weekend (it's a long weekend, Physical Education Day on Monday!) will be spent packing boxes.
And it's such nice weather .... If I do well with the packing maybe I can take a trip out of town on Monday to see some autumn colour.

1 comment:

  1. So why is "20 mSv/yr is OK for now but needs to be brought down in stages (as the Clean Up progresses) back to 1 mSv/year"?

    Seems a bit inconsistent. What's the reasoning?

    Secondly, why clean it up all the way down to 1 mSv (presumably the average dose an inhabitant in the area receives)? There are plenty of people in other places that receive higher doses. For example, the UK average dose is 2.7 mSv/yr (this includes dose from the environment, food and medical sources), USA 6.2 mSv/yr and the average radon dose for people in Cornwall 7.8 mSv/yr.

    Aren't the levels of USA or Cornwall good enough?

    Radiation dose data from: