Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog 10: More harmful radiation than previously thought from Fukushima

Summary: Clean up of the recent over flow of radioactive cooling tanks has been much slower than promised by the Japanese government. The Liberal Democratic Party urges the government to take back the promise of returning home to the people near Fukushima. Residents of the eleven affected towns who once planned on going back home in March of next year, my never be able to return again. The Japanese will now have to relocate 160,000 people into new homes. Tepco, the plant's operator is supposed to help pay for the relocation and clean up but says it has more to focus on with the attempts to decommission the Fukushima plant which could take up to thirty years. "At some point in time, someone will have to say that this region is uninhabitable, but we will make up for it," the LDP's secretary general, Shigeru Ishiba, said recently. A plan to give up on cleaning the areas closest to the accident and focus on the realistic goal of making the less affected areas the priority has upset those who are permanently displaced.  

Analysis: "Politicians should have specified a long time ago the areas where evacuees will not be able to return, and presented plans to help them rebuild their lives elsewhere," Toshitaka Kakinuma, a 71-year-old Okuma resident living in nearby Iwaki told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. There are few like this who even want to return to their homes. Over a thousand people have died due to illnesses related to the evacuation of Fukushima. Some are more devastated than others in that previous accidents made them fear displacement before.  Scientists cap the threat of radiation damage to people up to 20 mSv. Even at or below this, those exposed to the radiation will be more prone to cancer in the future. Constant tests are being taken, measuring harmful emissions in the air, ocean and groundwater. The extremely reactive element, caesium has been detected in plankton from 60 km away from the site of the plant. The accident in Chernobyl had similar effects on the environment.


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