There are fears people could be poisoned amid plans to use radioactive soil from Fukushima to build roads.
The country’s Environment Ministry wants to use the radiation-tainted material to rebuild a number of roads in the region that was devastated by a tsunami in 2011.
But the proposal has sparked fury among residents over fears they could be poisoned by the soil.
A briefing about the plans on Thursday saw angry scenes erupt, with locals in the city of Nihonmatsu yelling about how the roads will be “contaminated”.
Authorities have been desperately trying to convince people that it will be safe, saying the soil will be buried under clean earth that will “block” any harmful radiation.
“Don’t scatter contaminated soil on roads,” one resident yelled during a Thursday briefing by Environment Ministry officials in Nihonmatsu.
The officials repeatedly tried to soothe them with safety assurances, but to no avail.
“Ensuring safety is different from having the public feeling at ease,” said Bunsaku Takamiya, a 62-year-old farmer who lives near a road targeted for the plan. He claims the project will produce groundless rumors that nearby farm produce is unsafe.
Seven years after the March 2011 core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Takamiya has finally been able to ship his produce in Fukushima without worry. Then the ministry’s soil plan surfaced, reports the Japan Times.
A woman in the neighborhood agrees.
“The nature and air here are assets for the residents. I don’t want them to take it away from us,” she said.
Under the plan, tainted soil will be buried under a 200-meter stretch of road in the city. The soil, packed in black plastic bags, has been sitting in temporary storage.
The plan is to take about 500 cu. meters of the soil, bury it under the road at a depth of 50 cm or more, cover it with clean soil to block radiation, and pave over it with asphalt. The ministry intends to take measurements for the project in May.
Much of the Fukushima Prefecture has been a no-go zone after the earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdown.
But the Japanese Government is still trying to encourage survivors of the disaster to move back to their homes in the area.
This is despite high levels of radiation being found, which has spread for miles.
Fears have even been raised about radiation from Fukushima entering the food chain and poisoning people.
In the last two years, highly-toxic Cesium-134 – the “fingerprint” of Fukushima – has been found in certain locations along the US west coast.
This is due to the vast quantity of contaminated water that was leaked into the ocean when the tsunami hit seven years ago.
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April 30th, 2018