The Mainichi Daily News, Oct. 8, 2011
True radiation decontamination still a long way away

This article discusses the daunting, perhaps impossible, challenges of removing radioactive contamination in Japan from buildings, roofs, roads, fields…everywhere.

[…] “It might make you feel like you’re decontaminating, but there’s a limit to the amount of radioactive cesium that’s caked onto roofs that can be eliminated with high-pressure water cleaners,” says Kunihiro Yamada, a professor of environmental science at Kyoto Seika University. “The water cleaners wash surface dirt off, but then that tainted water goes into sewers and can contaminate rivers, thereby affecting farm goods and seafood. If people in highly populated areas were to begin using water cleaners, we may end up finding people forcing tainted water onto each other.” […]

[…] “What residents want is not half the exposure to radiation,” says Yamada. “What they want is for a return to levels that allow them to live with peace of mind. Massive amounts of radioactive materials have been spread across wide areas in the ongoing disaster, so we can’t count on the weathering effect. There’s also the possibility that radiation will not only spread, but will start to accumulate in large concentrations in certain places. The half life of cesium 137 is approximately 30 years, but that of cesium 134 is 2 years. What the government has said is the equivalent of saying that they won’t engage in full-fledged decontamination activities.” […]

[…] Kodama finishes his book, “Naibu hibaku no shinjitu” (The Truth about Internal Exposure), with the following: “We have contaminated our country’s earth, this irreplaceable inheritance from our ancestors that we had been charged with and must pass on to our children. However, if humans are the ones who contaminated it, then we humans should be able to clean it up again.” […]

Full article at: T