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Friday, July 1, 2011

113 households identified as radioactive hot spots


Staff writer

The central government on Thursday designated 113 households in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, as areas with radioactive hot spots and recommends that the people living there evacuate despite being outside the no-entry zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The areas include 113 households in the Ishida, Kamioguni and Shimooguni districts in the Ryozenmachi area, and the Aiyoshi district in the Tsukidatemachi area, where cumulative radiation is expected to exceed the government standard of 20 millisieverts a year.

In issuing the recommendation, the government said it took into consideration whether the households had pregnant women or preschool children whose health risks are higher than others.

"The government will offer full support to those who wish to evacuate," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

The central government is also coordinating with local officials on whether to add part of Minamisoma to the list of hot spots as well, officials said.

Date is about 80 km directly northwest of the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and outside the 20-km no-go radiation zone. Last month, the government said it would designate some areas outside the no-go zone as hot spots to prod residents to evacuate.

A radiation exposure limit the government set for schoolchildren in April drew so much criticism that it was forced to issue a new but nonbinding limit the following month.

Tepco execs visit mayors

Kyodo

FUKUSHIMA — Newly appointed Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Toshio Nishizawa and his predecessor, Masataka Shimizu, on Thurday visited the mayors of Fukushima Prefecture municipalities affected by the nuclear crisis to report on the No. 1 plant's current situation.

Nishizawa, who became president Tuesday, and Shimizu were slated to visit the leaders of 11 municipalities through Friday, following their meetings last week with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato and Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa.

Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe, who met with them in the morning, said: "After the accident, Iwaki was partly designated as a zone for residents to stay indoors, but the citizens received no notification of it. We feel anger about the way information is disclosed."

The mayor handed Nishizawa a letter demanding that the utility contain the crisis as quickly as possible and pay adequate compensation to those affected.

"We will take the matter seriously," Nishizawa responded.

Following the visit, the two met Hirono Mayor Motohoshi Yamada and were scheduled to visit four other municipal offices later in the day.

Nishizawa and Shimizu met with Gov. Sato on June 21, and with the mayor of Futaba, where part of the troubled nuclear complex is located, in the town's evacuation site in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, on June 23.

Big float enters operation

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday it has started using an artificial floating island called a "megafloat" to store water with a relatively low level of radioactivity from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex.

About 8,000 tons of water will be transferred to the float, which is berthed along the quay near the plant, over the next three to four months. The nuclear safety agency said Tepco hasn't decided what to do with the water after it is transferred, but it won't be dumped directly into the sea.

The water comes from the No. 5 and 6 reactor turbine buildings and a large part of it is believed to be seawater left inside the facilities after large tsunami hit the plant, as well as groundwater.

Dealing with the massive amount of contaminated water at the plant is a key part of containing the crisis. The megafloat is 136 meters long, 46 meters wide and 3 meters high and was originally used in the city of Shizuoka as a park for sea fishing. It has a capacity to store some 10,000 tons of water.

Tepco has been transferring the less polluted water into makeshift storage tanks but has decided to use the float because the tanks are becoming full.



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