Thursday, March 31, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Evacuation Zone - IAEA Says One Thing, Edano Says Another

Earlier today, Reuters reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested to the Japanese government to expand the mandatory evacuation zone beyond 20-kilometer radius, and that Japan's Prime Minister Kan agreed:

Criticised for weak leadership during Japan's worst crisis since World War Two, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said he is considering enlarging the evacuation area to force 130,000 people to move, in addition to 70,000 already displaced.

IAEA's concern was Iidate-mura (village), which is located at 40 kilometers northwest of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

The Reuters' article suggests the Japanese government has already agreed to or is already considering expanding the evacuation zone.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano didn't say anything remotely like that, though. He and the spokesman from Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency both said they would "consider" carefully before deciding anything on evacuation, and hope the decision would be not too late.

For them, being a stickler for bureaucratic procedures and rules is their safety, a comfort blanket, in the time of nuclear crisis which they, with the collaboration of the media, try to portray as a long-term nuisance at worst.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (in Japanese; 1:13PM JST 3/31/2011):

Regarding the IAEA suggestion that the government consider issuing the evacuation recommendation to the residents of Iidate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture where highly radioactive materials have been detected from the soil, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano in the press conference in the morning of March 31 said the current level is not a dangerous level to the health, and "Not of nature to consider such thing (as expanding the evacuation zone."

Having said that, Edano added, "If this goes on for a long time, there is a possibility of those radioactive materials accumulating in the body and affecting the health, so we have to consider carefully. We will try not to be late (in issuing an evacuation order) when we need to, by conducting the sampling and analysis of air and soil in the wider areas."

On the other hand, METI's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said that "IAEA's data is only one indicator [among many others]. We need to consider further before we decide (whether to order the residents of the village to evacuate)." There were still 114 residents remaining in the village, as of March 27.

 IAEAが、高濃度の放射性物質が土壌から検出された福島県飯舘村の住民に対し、避難勧告を検討するよう促したことについて、31日午前、記者会 見した枝野官房長官は、現状では健康被害が起きる状況ではないとして、「直ちにそういった(避難地域を拡大する)性質のものではない」と語った。




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