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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Contaminated vehicles stored in Fukushima

September 1, 2017

190 vehicles left Fukushima plant with high levels of radiation



By TERU OKUMURA/ Staff Writer


Nearly 200 unchecked vehicles that left the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the days after the disaster struck had radiation levels exceeding the government safety standard, a survey showed.


Two vehicles that were not tested for contamination before they were driven from the plant remain unaccounted for, and their radiation levels are unknown.


Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled plant, began looking for the contaminated vehicles and measuring their radiation levels in 2012 at the government’s request.


According to the survey, 600 cars used by workers and 1,100 vehicles for business purposes were parked on the site of the nuclear plant when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.


Of them, 460 vehicles were driven from the plant site by March 22.


“Inspections and decontamination work for the cars started on March 23,” a TEPCO official said. “Until then, we were too busy dealing with the accident to check the vehicles for radiation before they left.”


The readings for 190 vehicles exceeded the government safety standard of 13,000 counts per minute (cpm). At least one vehicle recorded more than 100,000 cpm, according to TEPCO.

Some of them had been sold to used car dealerships, according to the survey.


The contaminated vehicles are being stored at a TEPCO facility in the no-entry zone near the plant.


“We will continue the survey,” a TEPCO official said.

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