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

Forests won't be decontaminated

December 21, 2015

Forests will not be decontaminated


Dec. 21, 2015 - Updated 01:43 UTC+1

NHK has learned the government may not conduct radioactive decontamination of forested land in Fukushima and other prefectures that is far from residential areas. Many forests in the region were polluted after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.

Sources close to the government say it may adopt a new policy because removing fallen leaves as part of the cleanup may have other negative effects, such as loss of top soil.

The government's decontamination work is now basically limited to forest areas within 20 meters of communities. It had not made it clear what would be done with forests in wider regions.

A government panel has been studying how to decontaminate the forested land.

The sources say the panel's study of Fukushima Prefecture shows no radioactive materials that could adversely affect inhabited areas are dispersing from forests.

They say the government is afraid that removing radiated fallen leaves in large areas will expose contaminated soil that can be washed away.

Instead of decontamination work, the sources say, the government plans to set up wooden fencing on steep hills to stop soil erosion and to make the forests healthier by thinning.

The government will seek approval of such measures from experts on Monday.


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