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article imageJapan ponders using decontaminated Fukushima soil as landfill

By Karen Graham     Apr 10, 2017 in Environment
Tokyo - An advisory panel of Japan's Environmental Ministry proposed on Monday that decontaminated soil from Fukushima Prefecture could be used as landfill for the creation of "green areas."
At a meeting of the advisory panel today, the ministry also called for creating a new organization to map out plans on how to get the public used to the idea of using decontaminated soil from the area around the Fukushima nuclear disaster site.
The ministry also presented a plan that would allow the decontaminated soil to only be used in areas away from residential neighborhoods. The plan is to use the soil to fill in depressions and plant vegetation on top. But it is questionable whether the plan will pass public scrutiny.
Decontamination work has included washing roof tiles and walls of houses and other buildings as well...
Decontamination work has included washing roof tiles and walls of houses and other buildings as well as decontaminating a schoolyard in the Fukushima Prefecture.
Japan Ministry of the Environment
Several news agencies noted that the ministry avoided using the word "park" in an effort to not alarm the public. However, Japanese citizens may already be aware of the fact that the government decided last year to use soil containing cesium emitting 5,000 and 8,000 becquerels per kilogram or lower in public projects, such as coastal levees and highways.
Shortage of soil in Japan
A country with a shortage of soil is rather unique but in Fukushima Prefecture, that is exactly what's going on. This month, an April 2017 Progress on Off-site Cleanup and Interim Storage Facility in Japan report was issued, which, by the way, makes no mention of any soil used for roads and levees, but it does talk about an Interim Storage Facility (ISF) on page 23.
Graph on page 23 shows the estimated volume of the soils removed so far.
Graph on page 23 shows the estimated volume of the soils removed so far.
Japan Ministry of the Environment
Decontamination efforts have included removing the top layer of soil, along with fallen leaves, brush, limbs, as well as washing roofs and walls of houses and other buildings, pressure washing roads, school yards and more. The report does talk about the storage of the contaminated soil, and this is the report the public will see, including nice diagrams showing how the ISF will be set up.
Time will tell in the end, whether the ministry is making the right choice in spreading the decontaminated soil (or at least this writer hopes it has been decontaminated) all over the country. With the threat from tropical cyclones, tsunamis, and earthquakes, it would make people wonder if that soil would stay where it was placed or would it end up in their drinking water.
More about Japan, soil shortage, Fukushima prefecture, decontaminated soil, public awareness campaign
 
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