Saturday, December 24, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: Ministry of the Environment Will Get 1 Trillion Yen Budget, 5 Times It Got This Year

Speaking of Christmas presents...

The Ministry of the Environment, once an utterly unimportant, powerless ministry in the Japanese government, is now one of the most powerful under Goshi Hosono, who still doubles as Minister in charge of the nuclear accident that has ended. The measure of power? Its budget size.

It is set to quintuple in the fiscal 2012 to more than 1 trillion yen (US$13 billion) because of the "decontamination" work in Fukushima Prefecture and other 7 Prefectures. However, as no one pretends to know how much it will actually cost to carry out "decontamination", by doling out the money to top-tier general contractor joint ventures who will then dole out jobs down the subcontracting pyramid, the sky's the limit for the Ministry's budget. It doesn't even include the construction cost for the "temporary" storage facilities for the contaminated waste.

From Asahi Shinbun, which will soon go the UK's Times way and charge fees for the online readers to read its articles (12/24/2011):


The budget of the Ministry of the Environment in the fiscal 2012 will quintuple to over 1 trillion yen. The Ministry is in charge of disaster debris disposal and decontamination of land contaminated by radiation. Of the 1 trillion yen, 825.8 billion yen is from the Recovery Special Budget, constituting the bulk of the increase.


451.3 billion yen will be earmarked for decontamination and contaminated waste disposal. Already, this year's 3rd Supplementary Budget allocated 245.9 billion yen to decontamination. The cost for decontamination is estimated to be 1 trillion and several hundred billion yen.


The national government will carry out the decontamination in the no-entry zone within the 20-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and in the planned evacuation zone where the annual cumulative radiation exposure [external only] is expected to exceed 20 millisieverts. In addition, there are location within [the planned evacuation zone] where the radiation exposure will exceed a certain level, and the government will give financial support to 102 municipalities in 8 prefectures in Tohoku and Kanto which have been designated recently as "contamination situation priority survey areas".


However, this budget does not include the construction cost to build temporary storage facilities for contaminated waste resulting from decontamination. It includes only 2 billion yen for the feasibility study for such facilities. The officials at the Ministry of the Environment says "The ultimate cost of decontamination is still unknown to us."

Uh huh. It is more like "The ultimate cost of decontamination is still unknown to us but we know it's going to be gigantic; in fact it is so gigantic we would rather not tell you lest we be held accountable. So we say we don't know, and when SHTF we will say "Who could have known?", and you will say "Oh well nothing could be done now so let's keep doing what hasn't worked, because if we do it enough it may finally work"". And so it goes.

You can be pretty sure that the government will pick the costliest, most complex and probably the most ineffective so-called "technology" do decontamination. The costlier the project, the profitable for all parties taking part. (Never like that coffee filter removal of radioactive cesium invented by a layman.)

Ben "Bernank" Bernanke of the US Federal Reserve would know what to do ("print" money), but not so Shirakawa of the Bank of Japan. Instead, the Noda administration is extra keen on raising taxes on the general public, removing the social benefits even further, and expanding the government so that "Fukushima recovers and the economy grows".

As more and more people in Japan become aware that they've been had, and that so-called "decontamination" is about giving lucrative contracts to the well-connected and entrapping the residents in the highly contaminated area, the governments of all levels - national, prefectural, municipal - go the other way, preaching the virtue of helping out fellow Japanese by eating contaminated food, burning contaminated debris, and paying for "decontamination" to revive Fukushima.

I guess the current batch of ministers is too young to have ever heard of what happened in Japan during the World War II - like practicing to down a B29 bomber that sprayed incendiary cluster bombs using bamboo spears.


Darth3/11 said...

Beyond depressing, but at least we can see how the future will be dealt with. Not correctly, but for profit of a few and hell-with-you contamination for the rest. Don't these politicians and contractors realize that they and their families live on Planet Earth as well, breathing in and eating the results of their folly with the rest of us mere mortals???

Atomfritz said...

Indeed, this is depressing. This "plutonium state" becomes more and more a self-service for the rich.

And of the 825 billions there are 2 billions only for research how the waste possibly could be stored long-term. One fourth of a percent.

This fading out of the radwaste mountains piling up is so mad. Like ostriches hiding their head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, off topic, but readers of this blog will probably be interested in this:

Hirose Takashi with an introduction by C. Douglas Lummis

Many people in Japan have understood for years that the country’s nuclear power industry was heading for catastrophe; few people have worked as hard or as passionately to prevent that catastrophe as Hirose Takashi. Since the early 1980s he has written a shelf of books, mostly on that subject. The first to attract notice was his Tokyo ni, Genpatsu wo! (Nuclear Plants in Tokyo! [1981]), a reductio ad absurdum of the nuke promoters’ argument: if they are so safe, why not put them in the center of the city, rather than hundreds of miles away, forcing you to build expensive and destructive power lines all over the country, which also eat up a vast amount of electricity in the wires? The book was a bombshell, exposing as it did big-city egoism: we get the electricity, somebody else gets the danger. The exposé applies to the 3/11 catastrophe: many people haven’t noticed the significance of the fact that the plants at Fukushima belong to the Tokyo Electric Co. The electricity they (used to) generate goes (went) to Tokyo; Fukushima’s electricity comes from elsewhere.

Before the catastrophe, Hirose had written that if a nuclear catastrophe ever really happened in Japan, he would go silent. Of course, he has not been able to do that. Over the years he has been attacked as a fear monger, and indeed, he has generally written about worst-case scenarios. (How would you like it if your fire department took the attitude, Don’t worry, there probably won’t be any fires?) Now the worst has happened and, astoundingly! most people don’t seem to realize that it has. Today Hirose is doing the work he hoped he would never have to do, writing article after article, doing interview after interview, travelling around the country on grueling speaking tours, explaining to people the obvious: yes, this is a genuine nuclear catastrophe, and no, there is no reason to believe that that was the last major earthquake.

The following is a video with English translation of Hirose Takashi lecture in Tsuchiura, September 11, 2011. You can skip the first eight minutes of introduction to go directly to the lecture. The video was translated and subtitled by Hiroaki Kobayashi, Kazko Kawai and Fritz Spencer.

The video of Mr Takashi's 3 hour presentation is at:

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@atomfritz, I posted before that ostriches were the mascot pets at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. Seriously.

Atomfritz said...

@ laprimavera

Oh, yes! That was back on April 26...
Didn't even think of that when the picture of ostriches putting the head into the sand came into my mind when reading that almost no money was dedicated to the nukewaste handling.

One of these ostriches probably from this farm could still be alive. See Kyodo article of Nov. 9.
Link with photo:

Hope there was one good soul who opened the stable and set the surviving birds free...

Anonymous said...

Birds are already on the run
Merry Christmas Ultraman

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