– “Decontamination” Defined by Ministry of the Environment Is Nothing But a General, Thorough Cleaning by Hand (EX-SKF, Jan. 26, 2012):
according to Sankei Shinbun, who has been unabashedly pro-nuclear energy and in favor of dispersing radioactive materials throughout Japan via the disaster debris to share in the “pain”.
The paper has an article about the meeting between the Ministry of the Education officials and the heads of the municipalities within the 20-kilometer radius “no entry zone” where the heads of the municipalities received the information from the Ministry about their lot – whether they can return after the decontamination work by the national government or not.
But that isn’t the interesting part of the article.
At the end of the article, there is a separate section that the newspaper writes about what “decontamination” is, according to the Ministry of the Education:
除染 「がんこな汚れを落とす掃除のようなもの」（環境省幹部）で、基本は人手に頼ってスコップやタワシなどで行わ れる。環境省が昨年末に公表したガイドラインによると、落ち葉など容易に除去できるものは手作業で取り除く。屋根であれば高圧洗浄機で洗い流し、玄関など コンクリート部分であればタワシやブラシでこする。放射性物質が染み込んだ草地や土壌は、スコップやショベルカーなどで表面をはぎ取る。放射能を浴びない ように防護服を着るなど作業時の服装に注意しなければならない。
Decontamination: “It is like a cleaning job of stubborn dirt or stains” (Ministry of the Environment senior officials). Basically, it relies on manpower, using hand tools like shovels and scrubbing-brushes. According to the guideline published at the end of last year by the Ministry of the Environment, what can be easily removed, such as dead leaves, is to be removed by hand. The roofs are to be washed down by high-pressure washers, and the concrete surface such as the entrance of a house is to be scrubbed by scrubbing-brushes and deck brushes. As for the grassland and the soil where radioactive materials have penetrated, the surface is to be removed using shovels or diggers. Workers must pay attention not to get exposed to radioactivity by wearing the protective gear.
It looks as long as you follow these procedures the Ministry will call it “decontamination” and the job is done by the book. The subcontractors get paid by the general contractors, who get paid by the Ministry.
If you believed what Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment, said about decontaminating Fukushima – “Japan is not the Soviet Union, we have advanced technology to deal with radiation contamination, and we can do what others may have failed”, sorry. There is nothing high-tech about any of these methods, and they don’t even work.
From what’s been tweeted by a villager in Iitate-mura, Fukushima Prefecture, the thorough “decontamination” job by hand by the Self Defense Force using screw drivers scraping dirt and dead leaves achieved nothing. It’s back to square one:
After decontamination (part 1): About the stone pavement in front of the village office that the Self Defense Force kindly took trouble to decontaminate for us. Right after the decontamination work on December 20, the radiation level was 1.57 microsievert/hour. On December 29 it was 2.87 microsieverts/hour. On January 10, it was 3.26 microsieverts/hour. I told you so, it’s no use. The gaps between the stones are filled with dead leaves [again].
He is not angry that the radiation didn’t go down. He is angry that the government needlessly exposed these young SDF soldiers who are from the bases inside Fukushima to high levels of radiation.
So far, two workers doing exactly what the Ministry of the Environment defines as “decontamination” have died in Date City and Hirono-machi in Fukushima Prefecture. The deaths have nothing to do with radiation, the government tells us, without giving any further details about the cause of their deaths.
If the government ever measured the density of radioactive materials in the soil and dead leaves that it made these workers and the SDF soldiers remove by hand in places like Iitate-mura and Date City, it hasn’t bothered telling us.
By the way, Sankei Shinbun categorizes articles related to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident and the radiation contamination problems with the label “Radiation Leak”. At least Yomiuri and Asahi use “Nuke Plant Accident” as their label.