Japan expands decontamination of forests


The Mainichi Daily News, Japan


Fukushima to expand forest areas for radiation decontamination

The Ministry of the Environment accepted a request on Aug. 29 from Fukushima Prefecture to expand forest areas for radiation decontamination from the nuclear plant disaster, ministry officials said.

Currently, forest decontamination is limited to areas around 20 meters from where people live, and places where people gather, like camping sites or mushroom-raising facilities. Fukushima Prefecture, which is hit hard by the nuclear disaster and has 70 percent of its area covered by forests, requested an expansion of decontamination areas.

At a meeting of experts on Aug. 29, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Satoshi Takayama said, “We will decontaminate the forests. We will steadily add to the government guidelines (for decontamination).” He indicated that based on studies and research, the areas of decontamination will be expanded.

The results of experiments by the prefecture in lowering radioactive material levels by forest thinning were also reported at the meeting. After removing 30 percent of the trees in a 50-meter radius area of cedar forest, radiation levels were found to have dropped 23.5 percent in the central area, while only declining by 2.5 percent near the border with the non-decontaminated area.

However, Fukushima Prefecture Vice Gov. Masao Uchibori, who submitted a request to the Ministry of the Environment to push forward with forest decontamination, says, “Even if we decontaminate an area, after a week, two weeks, or a month, the radiation levels return. We think it is because of radioactive material coming from the mountains.”

The national government will study factors including radioactive material movement and buildup in forests, the leaking and spreading of radioactive material from forests to other areas, and the effects on radiation levels from tree-thinning. The Fukushima Prefectural Government, meanwhile, will this fall examine the decontamination effects of tree-thinning over a 10-hectare area.

August 30, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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Nuclear Industry fails in its promise to keep its radioactive sources sealed.

One Response to “Japan expands decontamination of forests”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Japan don’t hold your breath, unless you are near radiation!

    It will be generations before the forests are anywhere near as safe as they were before 3/11/11…

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