1mSv per year is the legal limit of an ionizing radiation dose in Japan. This regulation was set up as a compromise level after the amounts of ionizing radiation that were released into the air by nuclear bomb experiments. The currently set up temporary regulation for Fukushima prefecture is 20mSv per year. This is very high for our everyday life, especially for children. People in Fukushima are being forced to live in high radiation areas. When the Japanese government announced their plan for decontamination back in 2011, first they said they are aiming to reduce to 1uSv /h. However I have noticed over the past years, that the media have been using confused information; even some translations into English have mixed up the values 1mSv/y and 1uSv/h. It should be stated clearly 1uSv/h=8.76mSv/y. According to official sources, equivalent amounts of C134 and C137 were discharged from the crippled plant into the atmosphere at the time of the explosions. While C137 has a half life of 30 years, C134 has only 2 years. Therefore according to Professor Koide of Kyoto Nuclear Laboratory, the ionizing radiation level will go down to 1uSv/h (=8.76.mSv/y) in 2 years anyway without taking into the account of the effects of decontamination. However with continuous leaking of ionizing radiation for the last 2 years, I don’t think this would apply. At the time of the announcement, Fukushima citizens criticized the government, asking to keep 1mSv/y as the level for the safety. Then, former Environment Minister Hosono promised that the government would aim to keep 1mSv/y in response to the request from citizens. I have to say however that it appears to be just empty words to keep the citizens quite and manipulated…an empty promise. Despite various reports from Chernobyl that says decontamination work is meant to be only local and is not effective enough for larger areas, the government has been appealing to the nation through the mainstream media and the rest of the world via the IAEA meeting last December that people in Fukushima can live safely after the decontamination work even if after a level 7 nuclear disaster.
Almost the entire city of Fukushima with 90,000 households is eligible for decontamination work to lower the level of ionized radiation to 1mSv/y, but so far it’s only been completed in about 4000 households. Problems of decontamination haven’t been solved here yet. Also there is no help being provided to avoid recontamination from blowing dust, seed pollen and ongoing radionuclide in the environment from the crippled Daiichi nuclear power plant.
One month ago there were revelations of sloppy decontamination work being carried out. It turned out that the reason behind this sloppy work was that the government wanted to try and minimize the cost of decontamination. At the same time, over a two year period huge amounts of money were misspent on unrelated things. 16 billion yen was earmarked for a five year programme to restore the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and yet 48 million yen was spent on investment in Nuclear fusion for example. Why was this money not spent on restoring the area most in need? Not enough workers were employed for the tight schedules. Furthermore, they still haven’t sorted out where the soils contaminated by radioactivity can be stored. So, shockingly workers have on occasion been dumping them into the river. As a result, I’m sure that ionizing radiation will just continue to circulate around the area. The plan of decontamination work proved to be unrealistic. We haven’t heard about what’s happening for a while now, so we need to follow it up.
Recently Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato has asked the central government to loosen the amount of allowable ionizing radiation level. He commented that 1mSv/y under the current law in Japan is no longer achievable. I think he should really ask the government to evacuate children and pregnant women instead. Dr. Yamashita has resigned from his post as a Fukushima radiation risk advisor, (he was appointed by Mr. Yuhei Sato) after so much manipulation over the health survey. I would like to see the former Fukushima governor Eisaku Sato, who was made to resign over a minor allegation in 2006 because he was opposed to the use of a MOXed-fuel reactor in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, come back as Fukushima governor once again to protect people of Fukushima.