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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Fukushima: areas could remain uninhabitable
Article Type: News From: Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, Volume 23, Issue 1.
Areas surrounding Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant could remain uninhabitable for decades due to high radiation, the government warned, as it struggles to clean up after the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Japan faces the daunting task of decontaminating large areas of land around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which is still leaking low levels of radiation nearly six months after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown. The government estimates it could take more than 20 years before residents could safely return to areas with current radiation readings of 200 millisieverts per year, and a decade for areas at 100 millisieverts per year.
The estimates, which merely confirm what many experts have been saying for months, are based on the natural decline of radiation over time and do not account for the impact of decontamination steps such as removing affected soil. A vast area is still uninhabitable around the Chernobyl plant 25 years, after that disaster.