Saturday, March 24, 2012

No-Entry Zone and Planned Evacuation Zone in Minami Soma to Be Abolished Soon

Minami Soma City, where the recovery and reconstruction road race and marathon is taking place on Sunday March 25 in the area that has higher radiation levels than radiation control areas in a nuclear power plant, will soon be able to welcome the residents back to the no-entry zone and planned evacuation zone.

Radiation? What radiation?

From Kyodo News (3/23/2012):

国が南相馬大半立ち入り可能案 警戒区域解除4月にも

Most of Minami Soma will be habitable again, says the national government. No-entry zone to be abolished in April


In an effort to reorganize evacuation zones set up after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the national government submitted its plan to Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture on March 23 that will reorganize the no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone in the southern and western part of the city into 3 new zones, with most of the area designated as "zone in preparation for having the evacuation order lifted" which would allow residents to return. The rest of the area will be designated as "zone where residents cannot return for a long time" and "zone with restricted entry".


The official in charge from the national nuclear disaster local response headquarters disclosed the plan in meeting in the City Hall between the national government and the city.


The details of the 3 zones will be given by the national government by the end of March. The city requested that the no-entry zone be abolished by the end of April at the latest. The meeting was closed to the public.

The Japanese government, in its never-ending irksome PR effort to appeal normalcy and vigorous recovery of Japan to the whole world, is going to return the residents to the no-entry zone (20-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant) and the planned evacuation zone (mostly between 20 and 30 kilometer radius, including the very high radiation areas like Namie-machi and Iitate-mura) by simply renaming the zones.

The government is going to divide the former no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone into 3 new zones solely by the annual cumulative radiation exposure levels. As far as I know, it's only the external radiation levels that they are concerned with. (I have no idea if there are official translations for these names):

避難指示解除準備区域 (zone in preparation for having the evacuation order lifted): annual cumulative external radiation exposure of 20 millisieverts and below

居住制限区域 (zone with restricted entry): between 20 to 50 millisieverts

帰還困難区域 (zone where residents cannot return for a long time): 50 millisieverts and above

Again for your reference, pre-Fukushima average annual radiation exposure in Japan was 1.4 millisievert, including both external and internal radiation exposure (food, radon inhalation). This is the average, and eastern Japan had lower radiation exposure than western Japan.

In case of Minami Soma City, only a couple of homes in Kodaka District will be designated as the zone where they cannot return for a long time. But everywhere else will be good for the residents to return.

Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai, who became world-famous for his Youtube plea for help in March last year insists that the lifting of the no-entry zone designation does not mean there will be no more compensation for the residents.

Good luck with that, Mr. Sakurai.

Iitate-mura village chief Norio Sugano also eagerly awaits the re-organization of his village, which is entirely within the planned evacuation zone but has managed to keep a commercial business open (Kikuchi Seisakusho that has several factories in Iitate-mura).

Sakurai and Sugano have fared relatively well over the past year, having become world-famous as symbols of the nuclear accident, and having been able to retain political power over the residents.

On the other hand, Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie-machi is dead set against the re-organization, saying there is no plan in place for rebuilding infrastructure.


Anonymous said...

people are now almost forced to eat drink and breath radionuclides, the next step for the government in this downaward spiral is....
have them pay for all the medical cares that they will need.
Brain tumor, blood cancers, it will kill everyone, everyone within 80km of daiichi within 30 years.

Scott said...

How does the passage of one year make it safe for no-entry zones to be reopened for habitation? It’s about as hare-brained as drawing up a circle around Fukushima I and saying that that's the only place that we need worry about fallout despite the fact that the fallout was carried various vectors by the winds.

Even with all the decontamination efforts (high powered sprays and scraping of dirt) what happens when the dust and cedar pollen from the mountainside forests blow back all the particles back into town again?

Hopefully more public organizations step up to the task of keeping the residents in all affected areas up to date with any changes in levels of radiation. I doubt the local governments are willing be so helpful... We're nowhere close to being out of the woods yet.

Would such a thing happen in the US or any other country with nuclear power plants? Something tells me not really. At least not to the lengths the Japanese government has gone to play down the potential risks of living in areas like Minami Soma...

This all sounds like a huge human guinea pig experiment.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what decontamination measures - if any - besides washing everything off have or will be undertaken. The thing is, though, you can wash all you want, you're just relocating radioactive particles, you're NOT getting rid of them.

And decontamination aside, the Daichi plant is nowhere near out of the woods yet in terms of posing danger as more problems could be caused by another strong earthquake, to name just one obvious scenario.

I find this "opening" of the no-entry zone highly suspect, if not outright irresponsible, to say the least. I hope the Japanese people and especially the affected local residents educate themselves well and make an informed rather than an emotional - though understandable - decision about moving back.

Anonymous said...

They are all lost

Chibaguy said...

The government is declaring the world is flat. That is what I equate this to.

Atomfritz said...

Hey, what are you complaining of?

Look around, all clean!
Do you see anything?
Do you smell anything?
Do you taste anything?

So, why this baseless panic-mongery?


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