MEXT. Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology released a map on August 29th showing levels of soil contamination up to 100km away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. There are levels up to 40km away which exceed 555,000 becquerels per square meter, the level at which forcible relocations were required around Chernobyl. The current exclusion zone around the plant is set at a 20km radius.
The measurements were taken June 6 to June 14, about three months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, by 780 members of 129 universities and specialized organizations from around the nation. Soil samples were collected from about 2,200 locations to identify the concentration levels of radioactive cesium. The results will serve as a basis for information used in reviewing decontamination projects, evacuation areas and other quake-related efforts.Although evacuations in the exclusion zone have been mandatory, the "planned evacuation zones" which extend beyond the 20km boundary are voluntary. There are people still living in these areas that can't or won't leave.
Soil samples were collected for each 2-square-km area within an 80-km radius of the plant. Samples were also collected from each 10-square-km area within an 80- to 100-km radius of the facility. The number of sample locations total five for each radius zone. The sample was drawn from the soil 5 centimeters from the surface. The concentration levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137-the half-life periods of which are two years and 30 years, respectively-were estimated as of June 14 in this project.
But Iitate is anything but a ghost town. A special nursing home decided to keep operating in the village because it could not move elsewhere. Its 84 staff, who commute from outside the village, care for 108 elderly people, 77 of whom are women. The average age of the residents is 84.7 years. Most of them require constant nursing care. Only about 10 percent can walk unassisted.In addition to the Cesium contamination which will make these areas uninhabitable for a generation or more, it is now coming out that the residents around Fukushima should have been instructed to take Iodine tablets.
Several dozen cars are usually parked at the home's lot. In contrast, there are only five officials, who take turns doing chores at the village office located next door.
The residents of the nursing home could not be transferred to neighboring towns because of the lack of adequate facilities.
People living near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant should have taken iodine tablets to protect them from radioactive fallout, according to a member of an advisory panel of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.There is currently talk of using areas within the exclusion zone as temporary holding sites for radioactive waste. The prefecture governments are extremely resistant to the idea. I honestly think many people there simply aren't coming to grips with the fact that these areas are simply going to be uninhabitable.
Gen Suzuki, who heads a clinic at the International University of Health and Welfare, told a meeting of the Japanese Association for Medical Management of Radiation Accident (JAMMRA) in Saitama on Aug. 27 that 40 percent of people tested for internal exposure to radiation may have needed iodine tablets. The Japanese government has not instructed any residents to take iodine tablets since the start of the nuclear crisis.
Breathing and eating is believed to have exposed the thyroid glands of people living close to the stricken plant to relatively high levels of radioactive iodine, but iodine-131--which has a half-life of eight days--is the only iodine that has been measured in internal radiation tests because it has a long life compared with other iodines.
Kan also gave Sato a government assessment that some communities in the "no-entry zone," a 20-kilometer radius surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, will be uninhabitable for years due to exposure to high levels of radioactivity.Yes, they are very sorry. I think given the levels and extent of this contamination, we will be seeing the health and economic effects of this disaster for a very long time.
"We cannot deny the possibility that some areas will be uninhabitable for a long period of time," he said. "We are very sorry."
But Kan did not go into details as to where those areas would be.