NY Times: Large Area Of Japan To Be Declared Indefinitely Uninhabitable, Perhaps For Decades

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In a deceitful article that downplays the extent and severity of the radiation contamination, the NY Times has announced that Japan is expected officially declare a large area of Japan surrounding Fukushima indefinitely uninhabitable, perhaps for decades.

According to the report from the New York Times, the government of Japan is expected to make the official announcement later today which will declare a large area of land within the 12 mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear power plant uninhabitable for an indefinite period of time.

The announcement comes following the release of a government sponsored survey that found radiation levels up to .5 sieverts (500 millisieverts) per year within the 12 mile evacuation zone.

The NY Times article, however, misleads the reader on several points, including implying that harmful levels of radiation have only been found within the 12 mile evacuation limit and that Japan has set a safety limit of 20 millisieverts per year of radiation exposure.

The NY Times articles ignores several reports of high levels of radiation far beyond the evacuation zone such as radiation levels above the Chernobyl evacuation limit found 120 miles away in Tokyo.

Instead, the article misleads the reader into believing the radiation threat is contained within the evacuation zone which is the official position of the Government of Japan.

Even China recently blasted the Japan in a report that revealed high levels of radiation have been found in 100,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean up to distances 800 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which is far beyond the limits of contamination officially reported by Japan.

The NY Times article also misleads the reader into believing that Japan has set a safety limit of 20 millisieverts per year of radiation exposure.

Truth be told, Japan officials have repeatedly stressed a safety limit of 100 millisieverts per year of radiation exposure, even for children and pregnant women.

For example, this video shows radiation levels at 50 microsieverts per hour in near Fukushima Daiyon Elementary School where children are still attending which is 60 Kilometers away from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

That converts to an annual radiation dose of 0.438 sieverts (438 millisieverts) per year 37 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant. This is only one of several examples of radiation being detected at extremely high levels. There are also many examples with levels of radiation being detected much higher than this.

The NY Times does however highlight the fact that up until now the government of Japan shied away from statements about the area around the reactor being permanently uninhabitable and the expected announcement is a reversal of that position.

The New York Times reports:

Large Zone Near Japanese Reactors to Be Off Limits

TOKYO — Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident.

[…]

The government was apparently forced to alter its plans after the survey by the Ministry of Science and Education, released over the weekend, which showed even higher than expected radiation levels within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant. The most heavily contaminated spot was in the town of Okuma about two miles southwest of the plant, where someone living for a year would be exposed to 508.1 millisieverts of radiation — far above the level of 20 millesieverts per year that the government considers safe.

The survey found radiation above the safe level at three dozen spots up to 12 miles from the plant. That has called into question how many residents will actually be able to return to their homes even after the plant is stabilized.

[…]

Source: NY Times

Perhaps more disgusting is the Japanese media makes no mention of the plans to be indefinite, which could last for decades.

NHK implies they just not be lifted for the time being and the government “has decided to keep off-limits the areas where it is not safe for people to return home for a long time”.

Evacuation orders to remain in effect
The government has decided to have Prime Minister Naoto Kan explain to municipalities near the Fukushima Daiichi plant that exclusion orders in some areas will remain in effect due to high levels of radiation.

The government had planned to consider lifting exclusion orders within 20 kilometers from the plant after cold shutdown of the reactors has been achieved.

However, it has decided to keep off-limits the areas where it is not safe for people to return home for a long time.

Areas subject to the measure are those quite close to the plant and where radiation levels remain very high.

The government will arrange for Kan to explain to affected municipalities that exclusion orders will likely remain in effect for a long time and about how the government will support the former residents.

The government’s nuclear accident task force indicated on August 9 that some areas are likely to be too contaminated for people to return home for a long time.

It plans to work with local municipalities to decide on long-term measures and plans for reconstruction.

Source: NHK

Categories: ENVIRONMENT, FUKUSHIMA

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