Fukushima's crooked cleanup
It's rare that you see the words "crooked" in a newspaper headline.
But over the past three days, the Asahi Shimbun has run a series about the response to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
Here's a troubling section in the Crooked Cleanup article:
Environment Ministry officials failed to act on a flood of complaints from residents in Fukushima Prefecture about companies carrying out shoddy decontamination work.
No effort was even made to record the number or contents of those complaints, in part because staffing shortages made such work difficult, and many of the companies involved were not instructed on how to improve their performance.
There's a lot more if you click the link above.
Here's a shocking report in the Crooked Cleanup (2) article, which also dealt with decontamination:
A man in his 20s questioned the shady practices involved in decontaminating areas in Fukushima Prefecture, only to be assured that everything was OK.
He continued working and watching others around him dump the collected waste instead of properly storing it for disposal.
Like him, other workers involved in cleaning up the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster expressed concerns. One even apologized for what he did.
But they were on the bottom employment levels in the decontamination process, and their words apparently meant nothing to their supervisors.
If that's not enough to make you want to avoid Fukushima Prefecture for life, here's part of what was reported in Crooked Cleanup (3):
On Dec. 18, two workers for a subcontractor to the joint venture tasked with decontaminating Iitate were found using a pressurized sprayer to clean the parking lot in front of a post office. Some of the water used in the cleaning splashed onto the sidewalk and some flowed into a gutter that eventually reaches a river. An employee for Taisei Corp., which was part of the joint venture, was at the site serving as a supervisor.
The airborne radiation level near the gutter before the cleaning water flowed in was 0.8 microsievert per hour. The radiation level near the cleaning water hovered between 1.9 and 2.9 microsieverts. The larger figure is close to the cutoff point in determining if residents should evacuate.
A worker who was asked why the water was not being collected only said, "I don't know because I am not in charge."
An official with the subcontractor who was later asked about the incident said, "There is a strong possibility that water used in the cleaning flowed into the gutter."
Some environmentalists favour expanding nuclear power to delay on the onset of irreversible climate change. They're obviously not reading Japanese newspaper reports.