CROOKED CLEANUP: Government confirms 5 cases of shoddy decontamination work

January 18, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The Environment Ministry on Jan. 18 said that there have been five cases of shoddy decontamination work around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and has punished the general contractors involved in the cleanup effort.

In the five instances, three general contractors were ordered to take corrective actions, the ministry said on Jan. 18 in its report on the investigation into the central government-commissioned work, following reports of the suspected such dumping of potentially radioactive debris. Two other contractors were given guidance on following proper procedures.

The ministry also announced that countermeasures would be taken for preventing illegal dumping in the future.

With some parts of the report saying, “There was insufficient evidence to prove it,” the ministry plans to continue its investigation.

“It is important to continue to investigate, inspect and improve decontamination work,” Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said in a press conference on Jan. 18.

The ministry also admitted to having problems in dealing with reports about shoddy decontamination work being done.

The ministry task force to promote proper decontamination work met on Jan. 18 and came up with measures to avoid a repeat of illegal dumping practices.

Shinji Inoue, senior vice environment minister who heads the task force, announced the measures, including quadrupling the number of field supervisors and imposing stricter punishments on chief contractors commissioned to do the decontamination work if they violate the rules.

According to the ministry, there were 19 suspected cases of inappropriate decontamination work.

Of those, the ministry judged that there were five inappropriate cases, including three instances attributed to four general contractors and two newly investigated cases, including one where workers dumped collected grass and debris into a river.

The ministry has instructed contractors involved in three of the most blatant cases to improve their work procedures.

In one of the three instances, a worker in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, was observed by an Asahi Shimbun reporter using a pressurized sprayer to clean the veranda of a private home, with water splashing the walls of neighboring structures and not being properly collected.

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Please check related stories at (http://ajw.asahi.com/tag/Crooked%20Cleanup).

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A worker, right, is seen using pressurized sprays in cleaning up the roof of a private house in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture in a video taken by The Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 17, 2012. A general contractor commissioned the decontamination work had reported the workers cleaned up only the veranda of the private house. (Miki Aoki)

A worker, right, is seen using pressurized sprays in cleaning up the roof of a private house in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture in a video taken by The Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 17, 2012. A general contractor commissioned the decontamination work had reported the workers cleaned up only the veranda of the private house. (Miki Aoki)

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  • A worker, right, is seen using pressurized sprays in cleaning up the roof of a private house in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture in a video taken by The Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 17, 2012. A general contractor commissioned the decontamination work had reported the workers cleaned up only the veranda of the private house. (Miki Aoki)

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