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Japan to Extend Fukushima Cleanup Three Years Until 2017

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 07:24 AM

Japan plans to extend decontamination work from the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant by three additional years, according to the Japan Times.

Radiation cleanup in 11 local jurisdictions surrounding the Fukushima plant was originally scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2014. The new decontamination date will be in 2017.

Nearly 160,000 people were forced to flee the areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the facility and caused radioactive leaks.
 
Of the 11 municipalities within the Fukushima Prefecture undergoing cleanup work, only in the city of Tamura is it completed. Three other areas are on schedule for completed cleanup by March 31, which marks the end of the current fiscal year

The government hopes that a three-year extension will leave sufficient time to finally complete decontamination work in most of the municipalities, according to the Times.

The exception is Futaba, one of the towns hosting the nuclear plant, where officials say much of the area will be “difficult to return to for a long time.”

In an attempt to further accelerate the rebuilding of the Fukushima region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced last week that the government will strengthen oversight of decontamination and share a greater burden of costs incurred by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The Abe government has allocated nearly $20 billion worth of funds  for radioactive decontamination through 2013 and is asking TEPCO to pay back $400 million worth of funds it has so far used.

Adding to Japanese headaches stemming from the disaster, scores of sailors who were stationed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan when it visited Fukushima area on a humanitarian mission in March 2011 may file suit against TEPCO  contending they were sickened by exposure to radiation from the accident.

At least 70 of the 5,000 sailors visited the Fukushima coast during that period have contracted some form of radiation sickness, and “at least half” of the 70 have some form of cancer, their attorney told the New York Post.

The lawyer, Paul Garner, represents 51 of the stricken crew members and expects to file an amended lawsuit soon on behalf of more than 70 plaintiffs.

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Japan plans to extend decontamination work from the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant by three additional years, according to the Japan Times.
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2013-24-24
Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 07:24 AM
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