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Contractors employed to decontaminate Fukushima sites lacked proper knowledge

Tokyo, Jan. 15 (ANI): Contractors employed by the Japan government to decontaminate the Fukushima nuclear disaster-tainted sites, lack the proper knowledge and manpower required for the critical procedure, according to a worker at the site.

Pointing out that theoretical knowledge and field experience are different, the 60-year old worker from Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, said that lack of specific instructions from the contractors, poses grave danger at the site, reports the Japan Times.

According to the worker, the workers, ranging from teenagers to 60 year-olds, are from different fields, with only a few having civil engineering experience. Lack of basic knowledge, such as the need to wear protective boots and helmets, along with no specific workload, further delays the operations and poses danger to the workers.

According to Tokyo Electric Power Co., 900,000 terabecquerels of radioactive fallout was discharged into the atmosphere during the triple meltdowns at the plant in March 2011 alone.

The central government has designated 11 municipalities as “special decontamination areas” where the state is required to take direct charge of removing radioactive materials. These areas cover exclusion or restricted zones where residents were forced to evacuate after the Fukushima disaster started.

The cost of decontamination work in and outside of Fukushima Prefecture has so far totaled around 570 billion yen. Of the sum, roughly 120 billion yen has been spent on those “special” areas.

Decontamination methods are detailed in the guidelines of the Environment Ministry as well as in the manuals of contractors. They require the collection of high-pressure water used for cleaning, removal of substances on roads, farmland and areas 20 meters into woodlands where people’s daily activities take place.

But there is no mention of how to decontaminate the other wooded areas that cover 70 percent of Fukushima Prefecture, suggesting the project itself will have extremely limited remedial effect. (ANI)