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

A buffer zone "for a long time"

April 5, 2012


Hirano eyes Fukushima 'buffer zone'



Tatsuo Hirano, state minister for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, has suggested an uninhabited buffer zone under state control be created around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, government sources said.

Hirano made the proposal--which he stressed was only his private idea and did not represent government policy--when he met with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato on Tuesday at the Reconstruction Agency in Tokyo. Sato seems to have declined to respond, according to the sources.

The meeting was also attended by mayors from eight municipalities around the nuclear plant in Futaba County in Fukushima Prefecture.

The sources quoted Hirano as saying, "I suggested at a meeting of the government's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters [on Saturday] to set up a buffer zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant."

Hirano did not elaborate on which areas might be included in the buffer zone.

Hirano's proposal apparently reflects his judgment that safety concerns will remain in some areas around the nuclear plant even after decontamination work is carried out because water highly contaminated with radioactive substances and other radioactive waste will have to be stored on the nuclear plant's premises for a long time.

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