Decontamination to start in Sept. in areas with high radiation levels

The Environment Ministry announced on June 25 that it will launch decontamination work on a trial basis in September at the earliest in areas of Fukushima Prefecture affected by the March 2011 nuclear disaster. The areas are in the towns of Namie and Futaba, which have been designated as being difficult for residents to return to for a long period of time due to high levels of radiation. The ministry plans to use the trial, the implementation of which was laid out in the government's road map, to assess the effects and ways of decontamination and the safety of decontamination workers in order to study how best to further decontamination work in highly contaminated areas. The areas subject to the planned decontamination work in Namie are about 8 hectares of land in the Akogi district, some 7 hectares in the Obori district and about 12 hectares in the Ide district. The decontamination work covers residential and farming areas, roads and forests within 20 meters of residential quarters. In Futaba, the decontamination work will cover 4.2 hectares of land at the Futaba Kosei Hospital and 2.6 hectares at the Futaba Kindergarten. The five places subject to the decontamination work are close to the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and the annual dosages of radiation in the areas top 50 millisieverts. The highest air radiation level is some 23 microsieverts per hour recorded in the Ide district of Namie, where the yearly dosages top 100 millisieverts. The Environment Ministry said the decontamination work will involve high-pressure water jets and the removal of topsoil, which has proved to be effective in other decontamination projects. The removed contaminated soil will be carried to temporary storage sites to be set up in each of the five locations.