October 17, 2013
By TAKUYA KITAZAWA/ Staff Writer
The Environment Ministry has failed to use 76.6 percent, or 247.2 billion yen, of its budget to decontaminate radioactive areas around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the Board of Audit said.
Progress has been slow because opposition from local residents is making it difficult for the ministry to secure places to temporarily store the contaminated soil and debris collected in the work.
The ministry faces another problem: Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the stricken Fukushima plant, refuses to cover all the costs of the decontamination work as required under law.
The Board of Audit investigated the ministry’s budget of about 322.8 billion yen ($3.2 billion) for decontamination work for the period until March 2013, the end of fiscal 2012.
The results were released on Oct. 16.
In September, the Environment Ministry withdrew its plan to complete the decontamination work within fiscal 2013. The slow use of the budget made it clear that the goal was overly optimistic.
The ministry has been decontaminating areas known as “hinan-shiji kuiki,” from where residents were ordered to evacuate immediately after the March 2011 accident at the nuclear plant. The areas are located in 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.
By the end of July this year, only three of the municipalities-- Tamura, Naraha and Kawauchi--had obtained sufficient storage space for radioactive debris gathered in the decontamination process.
Seven municipalities have secured less than 50 percent of the necessary storage space, including Iitate at 15.2 percent and Minami-Soma at 18.0 percent. Namie has not acquired any storage place.
By fiscal 2013, the central government had earmarked 1.287 trillion yen for decontamination work. The amount needed is expected to increase.
Under the special measures law to deal with contamination caused by radioactive materials, TEPCO must shoulder all costs of decontamination work conducted by the central government and local governments. The law also stipulates that TEPCO must make efforts to quickly make the payments.
For the work that has been completed so far, the ministry sent TEPCO a bill for about 40.4 billion yen. However, the utility has paid only about 6.7 billion yen, or 16.7 percent.
*1) 20mSv/y is ICRP standard for the emergency situation. Also it's standard for only nuclear workers.
Some of 247.2 billion should be used to evacuate citizens (especially children) from high radiation area. There is no one live more than 5mSv/y in Ukraine because it's not safe. People in Fukushima have been forced to stay in the area up to 20mSv/y(*1) with hot spots that are higher than 20mSv/y. Also I don't think it's fair to blame the citizens for not signing for the radioactive storage space. Before the disaster, 1mSv/y was (is still by Japanese law) permissible amount of ionizing radiation in Japan, although the Japanese government's translation of 1mSv/y is actually 2mSv/y or 0.23uSv/hour (=added 1mSv/y* 2). The Japanese government wants all the evacuees to go back for living to their home land by 2020. Who would like to live in the area 20mSv/y or more and bear to live near the radioactive storage space while the crippled plant has been continuously contaminating the air, water and land? After the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government had raised the amount of permissible ionizing radiation in the air, food, water, soil, compost and debris and also a level of radiation for deciding whether to evacuate residents or not at the time of next nuclear accident, etc to support and promote nuclear industries. In this July the government announced residents of Tamura-city that there was no more decontamination because it wasn't effective enough and the residents needed to look after themselves by wearing dosimeter to monitor their level of exposure and stay indoor to minimize the effect from being exposed to ionizing radiation.
*The Japanese Government announced in Fukushima "No More Repeating of Decontamination", "Giving up reducing to 0.23uSv/" 自己管理を提案 福島で政府説明会 再除染応ぜずhttp://fukushimaappeal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-japanese-government-announced-in.html
*New Nuclear Regulation Authority Decides on 500uSv/hour as Future Evacuation Standard. 500マイクロシーベルトで避難決定 規制委が基準: 原発事故時、福島の実測値を根拠に 22/2/13http://fukushimaappeal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/new-nuclear-regulation-authority.html
*Japanese Government Authorizes Use of Radioactive Manure!