2013 De-contaminating Fukushima
33 images Created 2 May 2013
At an estimated cost of over a trillion Yen the Japanese government are attempting to de-contaminate the areas of Fukushima affected by the explosions and meltdowns at Fukushima Daichi nuclear power station caused by the March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Around 13% of Fukushima Prefecture is scheduled to have the top 3 or 4 centimetres of its soil removed. Farmland and residential area will be cleaned first followed by forested mountain slopes that will have leaf litter and undergrowth removed 20 metres either side of roads. The plan hopes to reduce radioactivity to the government-set target of 0.23 microsieverts an hour at ground level or less. The supposed technological advances that were promised to speed-up and improve the decontamination process do not seem to have arrived and a lot of the work is being done by hand with very simple tools. Soil and undergrowth, which easily absorbed the various nuclear particles released in the accident, and are often much more highly radioactive than the surrounding environment, are being cut and shovelled by labourers who seldom wear suitable protective clothing and equipment. The cleared waste is put into large vinyl bags for which a long-term storage solution as yet to be found.