What is the point here?
Contract workers pile up plastic bags containing highly contaminated soil on the ground in one of the most contaminated area in the entire Fukushima Prefecture. (Photo from Yomiuri)
This particular location, Ottozawa District of Okuma-machi (where Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is located), regularly measures well over 100 microsieverts/hour in air radiation 1 meter off the ground.
Just 6 days ago (2/3/2012 in Japan), the air radiation was 130 microsieverts/hour in Ottozawa District, according to Fukushima Minyu. The newspaper says the levels of radiation haven't changed much.
At 130 microsieverts/hour, if one stands there 24/7 for a year, it will be 1138.8 millisieverts, or 1.138 sievert, per year. (Only Professor Wade Allison may say it is safe.)
To say Ottozawa District is "inside the 20 kilometer radius no entry zone", as Yomiuri in the article below does, is a severe understatement. Ottozawa is within 3 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Some of the public facilities of Ottozawa District are right up against the plant compound.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (2/10/2012):
On February 9, the national government invited the press for the first time to the temporary storage site of the waste from the government's decontamination model project. The storage site is located in Ottozawa District in Okuma-machi in Fukushima Prefecture, inside the 20-kilometer radius "no entry zone".
Two locations on the town's baseball ground, 3 kilometers from the plant, were shown to the press. The radiation levels in Ottozawa District on February 9 exceeded 70 microsieverts/hour in some locations. The radiation levels [in Ottozawa District] are the highest among the locations regularly monitored by the government.
The workers in protective clothing and face masks were piling up 1-tonne bags of contaminated soil and vegetation. One of the workers said, "The protective mask is suffocating, and my hands are freezing because of the rubber gloves. It's a hard work."
Four protective layers, including water-shielding sheet, were laid on the ground where the bags were being put. After the bags are piled up, they will be covered with 3 layers of sheet, which they will be covered with dirt. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency who contracted the decontamination work explains, "98% of radiation [coming from the bags] can be shielded."
Well, there is no information in the article what's the radiation coming from the bags that contain extremely contaminated soil right near the nuke plant. The workers, as far as Yomiuri reports, are not concerned about radiation but inconvenience of having to work in the protective gear which does not shield radiation.
There is no information on whether the workers are JAEA employees or the contract workers, but judging from the remark by one of the workers in the article, it is likely to be the latter. I hope they were fully informed of the risks and paid accordingly, but hope is a dirty word.
My uneducated guess is that the radiation coming off the bags can be measured in millisieverts, not in microsieverts.