From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Fukushima off limits ‘for years’
Monday 22 August 2011
by Our Foreign Desk
Some residents evacuated from around Japan’s stricken nuclear plant may not be able to return to their homes for “several decades” due to radiation levels, government officials said today.
The Yomiuri Shimbun daily, citing an unnamed government source, said areas within 1.8 miles of the privately owned and operated Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant will probably be kept off limits “for an extended period — possibly for several decades.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: “We cannot deny a possibility that some of the residents may not be able to return their homes for a long time in some areas despite our decontamination efforts. We are very sorry.”
The government is considering providing more support for the evacuees, including long-term housing rather than prefabricated temporary homes that it is currently erecting.
The Education and Science Ministry released a report last week which projected that radiation accumulated over one year at 22 monitoring sites within roughly 12 miles of the nuclear plant would climb above 100 millisieverts, five times higher than the international safety standard of 20 millisieverts per year.
Any increased radiation exposure raises the risk of cancer.
The Fukushima plant was damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out its vital cooling systems, causing meltdowns in three reactor cores that spewed radiation into the air.
Some 80,000 people within a 12-mile radius of the plant have been evacuated, while several thousand more from outside the zone are also relocating.
Chemicals track Fukushima meltdown: here.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced his resignation today over his government’s widely condemned handling of the tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis: here.