9 Juin 2013
June 8, 2013
Only one-fourth of work to decontaminate housing areas following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis had been completed in seven prefectures in the Kanto and Tohoku regions by this March, the Ministry of the Environment said.
The government targeted 58 municipalities in regions outside Fukushima Prefecture as decontamination areas, whose progress would be regularly monitored.
According to the latest data, decontamination work had been completed on 98 percent of schools and daycare facilities -- as well as 80 percent of parks and public gymnasiums -- by the end of March.
In the area of housing, however, the process has been slow. While the number of decontaminated houses increased by 10,000 from December last year to reach a total of 34,500, this figure is still only one-fourth of the 138,700 total homes that have requested the work.
In addition, only 1 percent of the cleaning has been completed on forests near residential zones, even after municipal governments reviewed the original plan and reduced the size of the areas that were originally scheduled to be decontaminated.
Meanwhile, radiation levels in 14 districts of Fukushima Prefecture that were designated as model decontamination zones were revealed for the first time after the government monitored them for over one year. According to the data, radiation levels were reduced by an average of 60 percent after the decontamination work was performed at the end of 2011, and then dropped a further 19 percent in October last year, and still another 25 percent in March this year.
Officials said the decreases in radiation levels occurred mainly as radioactive cesium naturally decayed, and was also washed away by rains.