Decontamination Strategy In Doubt

Many experts have expressed doubt about the decontamination strategy in Japan. This involves power spraying roofs and similar structures, removing gutter silt and the top layer of soil. The problem is that these activities frequently result in minimal reduction of radiation, usually around 10-20%.

Japan Times also pointed out a slight of hand in the government strategy. They placed a goal of reduction that just happens to match the half life of cesium 134, one of the major contaminants being found.  Since human intervention barely lowers the contamination level and the government strategy is to just let it decay is decontamination even possible?

In cases of hot spots found in various places like Setagaya the solution was to completely remove the source of radiation and all the surrounding soil to lower the radiation level. This works when the radiation is coming from one small source and only involves a small concentration of soil. You still need somewhere to move that material to. When looking at the entire north-east section of a country that has been bathed in distributed contamination you can’t just move that volume of material somewhere else. This has created yet another problem is where to put contaminated materials. Nobody wants them nearby and they will take up a huge volume of space.

Experts also warn that making people live in areas of constant low level radiation is unhealthy. So decontamination strategies that only lower contamination, not completely remove it is not a viable solution.

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