Blog Archive

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Soccer village now front line in Fukushima nuclear battle. This is where they will practice? (anyone remember the barefoot girl's race in Fukushima)?

When Argentina's soccer team trained at the J-Village soccer complex in Fukushima for the 2002 World Cup, the players found beautiful pitches, modern facilities and enthusiastic fans.
Nine years later, the players would be dribbling around mounds of garbage and even a dormitory on the field. Instead of trainers carrying stopwatches, men in white protective clothing checking dosimeters would patrol the sidelines. And the bags and boxes of soccer balls would instead be filled with face masks.
The J-Village soccer complex is now Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s front-line base for dealing with the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Reporters on Nov. 11 were allowed into the complex for the first time since the March 11 tsunami crippled the plant.
Signs of battle to end the nuclear crisis were everywhere.
Gravel and steel sheets have been laid on the 11 soccer fields  at the complex, while the clock on the scoreboard is stuck at 2:46 p.m., the exact time on March 11 when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck.
Vehicles taking workers to and from the plant, 20 kilometers away, are checked for radiation and decontaminated.
After a vehicle returned from the plant as light rain fell, workers in white protective suits approached the vehicle and checked the tires and windshield wipers for radioactive substances.
On an average day, workers check around 300 vehicles, of which roughly 10 percent have radiation levels exceeding government standards. If the levels do not fall below safe standards after being cleaned, they are not allowed to move outside the 20-km radius around the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
"The situation here has settled down considerably," a 56-year-old worker from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, said.
TEPCO built the J-Village complex in 1997 at a cost of about 13 billion yen ($168 million) and later donated it to the Fukushima prefectural government. It is the largest soccer training facility in Japan.
Now, it is the main place where around 3,000 workers, all men, are sent to the Fukushima No. 1 plant every day. Their living conditions have vastly improved in the eight months since the accident. Initially, they were forced to sleep at the entrance or in the hallways of the complex, but dormitories have now been constructed as well as a building that also contains showers and washing machines.
Currently, around 1,100 of the 1,600 air-conditioned four-tatami-mat rooms are occupied by workers.
There is also a medical clinic within the complex, as well as a shop that sells daily necessities. A restaurant that previously provided meals for those staying at the J-Village resumed operations in September to serve the workers. About 200 use it daily.
The complex also has full body counters to measure cumulative internal radiation exposure, as well as storage spaces for the protective gear and face masks. Used clothing and mask filters are packed as radioactive waste into around 4,000 metal containers, each measuring 1 cubic meter, at the complex.
While the average radiation level at the complex is about 0.5 microsieverts per hour, levels of four to six times that have been measured near the containers. There is only room at the complex for about 2,000 more containers, but a TEPCO official said no decision has been made on how the waste will eventually be disposed of.
A 27-year-old man who works in a rest area for the workers said, "(Radiation) is scary because it's invisible."
[end snip]
So, we are allowing international sports people into these dubious confines?

Post a Comment