Japan: Areas around Fukushima, contaminated with nuclear fallout, may be off-limits "for several decades"


15 Responses to “Japan: Areas around Fukushima, contaminated with nuclear fallout, may be off-limits "for several decades"”

  1. tp1024 says:

    Instead of declaring any area off-limits, it would be better to simply provide necessary information about background radiation and isotopes found in soil/plant samples – and leave the decision to enter and/or live in the area to the people themselves.

    If the concern about citizens was so great as to mandate the evacuation of any area where a significant health impact can be expected, then there is a very good argument to made, to evacuate US states like Rhode Island, Delaware, Louisiana or Mississippi and compensate the affected people. Those states have significantly elevated cancer rates – to the tune of having one hundred thousand extra cases of cancer among every million people in those states than should be expected based on the US average.

  2. Teirhan says:

    I’m a little surprised they’re discussing renting the land out as a way to compensate the people they’re forcibly evicting.  I know it’s probably chump change for the government, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this sort of compensation before.  Maybe a boingboinger with a little more free time than me can point me to places this has been done before, and how well it worked out.

    It’s think kind of a good idea.  Sure the citizens don’t get to say no, but as long as the rate is fair it’s probably going to give them at least a small bit of income with which to find their feet again.

  3. DouglasLucchetti says:

    Anybody been to Nagasaki or Hiroshima’s ground zero? Within only a short time those areas were liveable and in fact bustling.  Why should we think a radioactive incident that is orders of magnitude less in severity than those two events would require such a response?

    • Dave Jenkins says:

      The atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were:
      1. airbursted at about 500 meters over the ground, which meant there was far less “dirt” that was irradiated, but also had the “benefit” of expanding the blast radius (as designed).  This meant less long-term fallout
      2. The atomic bombs were Plutonium239 and Uranium235.  Both are very radioactive, but a fair amount of the fuel is destroyed, and the remainder would have risen into the stratosphere with the fireball.  Thus, a lot of people were killed through alpha and gamma radiation from the blast, but not that much from radioactive dust lying around.

      Fukushima is different: it’s a non-explosive leaky fountain, spewing Cesium up into the air and into the groundwater.  The half-life is still a while (dozens of years).

      • phisrow says:

        It is also rather likely that the prevailing level of risk-aversion toward the end of the process of losing a very, very, ugly total war was probably a bit lower than the prevailing level today…

  4. winkybb says:

    Anyone else think this is a remarkably small exclusion zone and short time-period. I mean, given the media-driven hysteria and all…. I was kind-of expecting a 100km radius uninhabitable for 500,000 years or some-such. Nuclear power again provides some evidence that “fears” are generally overblown. Not sayin’ the meltdown was a good thing. Just saying we need to keep some perspective of risk vs reward.

    • Adela Doiron says:

      Indeed it is small. 3km is smaller than some shopping malls. It’s a two minute drive. It’s the size of my inlaws farm and the distance I used to walk for high school. As for the duration it will probably end up being a lot shorter than the worst case guesses based on Chernobyl since the cesium release so far is a fraction of what was and is in the Ukraine.

    • Lobster says:

      Have a nice cool drink of some Fukushima run-off, then tell me about risk vs. reward.  3km seems like plenty if it includes your house.

  5. Adela Doiron says:

    The testing results are on the MEXT web site so you can see the numbers and locations but your PDF reader may need to update to load them.

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