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Fukushima residents oppose NRA's plan to remove dosimeters

July 10, 2018




Fukushima Residents Oppose Govt. Plan








July 9, 2018


Locals opposed to removal of most dosimeters in Fukushima






TADAMI, Fukushima Prefecture--Officials and residents in Fukushima Prefecture are opposing the central government plan to remove 80 percent of the radiation dosimeters set up in the wake of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in March announced plans to remove 2,400 of the 3,000 monitoring posts by fiscal 2020 in areas where dose rates have fallen and keep the remaining 600 in 12 municipalities around the plant.


About 20 residents on June 25 attended a meeting here during which the NRA secretariat explained a plan to remove seven of nine monitoring posts in the town, including those installed at three elementary and junior high schools.


Shoji Takeyama, head of the secretariat’s monitoring information section, asked the residents to understand the objectives of the move.


“We believe that continuous measuring is unnecessary in areas where dose rates are low and stable,” Takeyama said. “The equipment requires huge maintenance costs. We have to effectively use the limited amount of funds.”


Residents expressed opposition.


One described the plan as being “out of the question,” saying that the shipment of edible wild plants and mushrooms in Tadami was prohibited although the town is far from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The secretariat emphasized that two portable monitoring posts will remain in the town.


NRA officials have said dose rates have significantly dropped in areas other than those near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, annual maintenance costs for monitoring posts total 400 million yen ($3.64 million) and that the dosimeters will soon reach the end of their 10-year operating lives.


In late June, the NRA was forced to suspend the plan to remove 27 monitoring posts in Nishigo after the village assembly adopted a statement opposing the plan, saying that sufficient explanations have not been provided to residents.


The Aizu-Wakamatsu city government in May submitted a request to continue operating monitoring posts to the NRA.


The city argues “there are citizens who are concerned about the radiation’s potential impact on their health and possible accidents that could happen during decommissioning work, and such people can feel relieved by visually checking dose rates constantly with monitoring systems.”


The prefectural government says it is “calling on the central government to proceed with the plan while winning consent from residents at the same time.”


A citizens group has sent a statement to the prefectural government and seven cities and towns, calling for maintaining monitoring posts. It has also collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition to be submitted to the NRA.


Yumi Chiba, 48, a co-leader of the group, said authorities should take into account the reality surrounding those residing in Fukushima Prefecture.


What is important is not knowing the average but identifying where dose rates are higher,” said Chiba, who lives in Iwaki in the prefecture. “I would like authorities to consider the circumstances facing residents.”


The NRA plans to offer explanations to residents according to requests. The gathering in Tadami was the first of its kind, and similar meetings are planned in Kitakata, Aizu-Wakamatsu and Koriyama on July 16, July 28 and Aug. 5, respectively.


The NRA is also making arrangements to hold meetings in 15 other municipalities.

(This article was written by Hiroshi Ishizuka and Yasuo Tomatsu.)


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