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Friday, 18 April 2014

Estimated radiation doses of Fukushima returnees withheld for half a year

[snip]

April 16, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The government withheld findings on estimated radiation exposure for Fukushima returnees for six months, even though levels exceeded the long-term target of 1 millisievert a year at more than half of surveyed locations.

Individual radiation doses were estimated to be beyond 1 millisievert per year, or 0.23 microsievert an hour, at 24 of all the 43 surveyed sites, including ones in the Miyakoji district in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, The Asahi Shimbun learned April 15.

The revelation comes just two weeks after the central government lifted the evacuation order for the district on April 1.

...

The government’s decontamination work aims at bringing radiation levels in contaminated areas to within 20 millisieverts a year before it gives the go-ahead for residents to return.

It also intends to bring readings to 1 millisievert or less eventually. The International Commission on Radiological Protection says a reading of up to 20 millisieverts is acceptable in areas where cleanup is under way.

The central government has also proposed to distribute devices that measure individual radiation to returned evacuees, so residents can monitor their radiation doses on their own. [you can trust those...]

But some evacuees from areas affected by the Fukushima No. 1 plant nuclear accident, which was triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, worry about the possibility they may be exposed to high radiation doses after returning to their homes. [oh really?]

...

In mid-October, the two agencies compiled a midterm report and submitted it to the government. But the Cabinet Office’s working team did not disclose the report until the evacuation order for the Miyakoji district was lifted. According to a member of the team, this was because the finding “has no direct relationship with lifting the evacuation orders.” [yeah, right]

Although the government held numerous meetings with Miyakoji residents to discuss lifting the evacuation order, it never presented the survey results, nor did it even refer to the existence of the data.

The government only presented an outline of the results to the three municipalities earlier in April.

Asked to disclose the findings, the government released the survey results to The Asahi Shimbun and posted the midterm report on the website of the industry ministry.

The working team said it planned to reveal the survey’s findings and analysis of the data on April 18 after fine-tuning its final report. But the team changed its mind because The Asahi Shimbun’s request to disclose the findings made it realize that public interest in the survey was greater than expected.

(This article was written by Shinichi Sekine and Miki Aoki.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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