Sunday, September 25, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Evacuation-Ready Zone to Be Abolished on September 30

The Japanese government says it will abolish the "evacuation-ready" zone in 5 municipalities that lie between 20 to 30-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on September 30, all at once. It may be construed as a declaration by the national government that it is now "safe" to return after slightly over 6 months after one of the worst nuclear accidents in history (which many thing is "the" worst).

Yomiuri Shinbun (9/26/2011):


The Japanese government will abolish the "evacuation-ready" zone on September 30. The "evacuation-ready" zone was set between 20 to 30-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the accident [where the residents are required to be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice and where no pregnant women and small children are supposed to be living].


Tadahiro Matsushita, Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, informed the heads of the municipalities in the zone in the morning of September 26.


In the "evacuation-ready" zone, residents are required to be ready to take refuge indoors or evacuate outside the zone in case of a nuclear emergency. The zone includes part or all of 5 municipalities - Minami Soma City, Tamura City, Naraha-machi, Hirono-machi, Kawauchi-mura. Currently, about 30,000 residents out of pre-accident area population of 58,000 have evacuated outside the area.


Each municipality will carry out decontamination of schools and homes based on the "recovery plan" [that it has submitted to the national government], and ask the residents who have evacuated to come back.

Fukushima Prefecture will build new homes for the returning residents, Yomiuri also reports:


On the national government's notice that it will abolish the "evacuation-ready" zone by the end of this month, Fukushima Prefecture is finalizing the plan to build temporary houses in the 5 municipalities whose designation as "evacuation-ready" zone will be lifted. The prefectural government has started the selection process for the locations.


The houses are for people who lost their homes in the earthquake and tsunami, so that they can live closer to their old homes [i.e. come back from their temporary shelters outside the area].


The 5 municipalities are Minami Soma City, Tamura City, Hirono-machi, Naraha-machi, Kawauchi-mura. The prefectural government will ask the municipalities how many houses they want built. Minami Soma City has already asked the prefectural government for 400 houses.

Japanese have always been good at construction projects. I mean, good at "dango" profit sharing of all scales and sizes between the contractors and subcontractors, and between them and the government officials.

And "decontamination"? Good luck to them if the data from Watari District in Fukushima City is any indication. Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University compared the radiation levels before and after the district's "decontamination" effort, and found that it hardly made a dent. In a place where the removal of contaminated dirt didn't happen, the radiation level doubled in a month, possibly with new deposits of radioactive cesium migrating from the surrounding area. Scrubbing the roofs and walkways with power washer lowered the radiation by 30% at most. (Professor Yamauchi's report is here, in Japanese.)

But the "decontamination" projects, which are usually undertaken by the neighborhood associations with minimal support from the municipal government's cleaning contractors, seem to have an effect of making the residents feel the radiation may have gotten lower because of their own effort, and that it will be OK to continue to be living there.

A cheap, almost ideal solution for the politicians in the national government and the prefecture - decontamination by the residents, no need to pay for evacuation costs, a building boom for temporary houses creating jobs for the locals.


Steveo said...

Concerning indeed, I do solar energy. Clean free energy, compared to nasty long term damage is an incredible thing think about.

steve the jew said...

" 'decontamination' projects [...] seem to have an effect of making the residents feel the radiation may have gotten lower because of their own effort, and that it will be OK to continue to be living there."

arbeit macht frei

jmdesp said...

However detailed maps of the contamination shows that most of it went to the north-west, explaining why there is so much in Iitate since it's straight ahead in that direction.
But in the other directions, many towns have much lower contamination level, which is why it makes sense to stop indiscriminately evacuating the 20-30 km zone, and setting evacuation rules based on actual measured radiation level.

Anonymous said...

The official response to this disaster just gets more and more absurd. How can the government abolish the evacuation zones when they've just discovered the buildup of hydrogen gas in that pipe, and the massive water leaks in the basement? Does the Japanese press question inconsistencies like this?

Thank you for all your hard work on this blog.

-bruce said...

these events are potential Extinction Level Events so far beyond the precautionary principle as to be profoundly criminal.
Nuclear Energy Technology off the Earth. Now..
Even if it's already too late.
To paraphrase another commenter, " thanks for killing my children and grandchildren."

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Bruce.
"Profoundly criminal" indeed... how can one person or organization ... or government, even... truly "take responsibility" for the lives and health and livelihood of thousands... perhaps millions... of affected people? We aren't capable as humans of weilding such power (just like we aren't capable as humans of fairly doling out the death penalty). Might sound like a good idea on paper but just doesn't work in practice. We need to be mature enough to say "we can't handle it" and just STOP (and good luck to us trying to clean up the mess already made)

Anonymous said...

@jmdesp could you please provide me a link to a contamination map? Not questioning your statement, just purely curious as to see where the radiation was dispersed. Thanks.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 7;56PM, looking at Hayakawa Map (radiation contour map from published data points), it did make sense to create a zone in 20-30 kilometer radius. The problem is, it should have been much bigger.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that map. I am astounded, and disturbed, at just how much the radiation has been dispersed straight into what appears to be Central Tokyo!

Anonymous said...

Bruce is a typical idiot in the comment sphere of the Yellow Journalism of alternative media, in their frenzy to get to the truth, they come up with moronic statements like "extinction level events". Amazing what a keyboard and a few brain cells can come up with. The situation is dearly a bad one, but I am about to give up on the alternative media who in their own way are just as bad as the corporate media and the Talmud Vision (TV).

Check out this article instead for slightly better reasoned thinking:

Anonymous said...

@Anon 6:52
The comment section of a blog is hardly "alternative media" I read comments and editorials in the MSM all the time that I don't agree with. The same has happened on this blog from time to time there is a occasional stream of conspiracy theories (Jim Stone, Arto Lauri) but there is also a good portion that are thoughtful and intelligent. In the early days of the accident when there was little information getting out of Japan and arevamirpal::laprimavera's blog was the only source for stories that didn't make it into the foreign press for weeks (if ever).

If you don't like a comment refute it with facts not everybody is as smart as you are. I would point out the Chernobyl disaster was worse (so far) and it has yet to be linked to planet wide ecocide. Like anything you need to pick the grain from the chaff. As for charges of "yellow journalism" this is a personal blog but a majority of the stories found here were reported in the mainstream Japanese press.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 6:52. Nicely said.

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