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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 19 - 25  > 60% of townspeople affected by Fukushima meltdowns intend to 'not return' to the town even after evacuation order is lifted
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2022 January 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

60% of townspeople affected by Fukushima meltdowns intend to 'not return' to the town even after evacuation order is lifted

January 24, 2022

Akahata 'current' column

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant-hosting town of Futaba has been off-limits to the townspeople for ten years and ten months. The town is the only municipality in Fukushima Prefecture where all its inhabitants have still been under an evacuation order. Recently, trial stays at their homes began in preparation for their full return to Futaba Town after the evacuation order is lifted.

People who went home for the first time after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, reportedly, have mixed emotions because neighborhoods they used to know no longer exist in the town. Fifteen people from eleven households applied for the trial stays in Futaba Town where about 7,000 people had lived. The town government says that it hopes that about 2,000 residents will come back to the town within five years.

A survey conducted with the Futaba townspeople, however, shows that 60% said they will not return to the town for various reasons such as concerns about daily shopping and community healthcare. The biggest reason is the anxiety about the safety of the Fukushima NPP.

This is maybe because the post-cleaning of the crippled nuclear reactors is still far from over. An inner-investigation of the No.1 reactor containment of the damaged NPP has been planned. The Nos. 1, 2, and 3 reactors suffered meltdowns in the 2011 accident, and their melted fuel debris is estimated to total 880 tons. The planned investigation will take place to grasp the situation inside the reactor before removing the debris from the three reactors.

Radioactive water has accumulated on the floors of the reactors, and the levels of radiation are extremely high inside. Only remote-controlled underwater robots can go inside. However, a problem occurred before actually sending in the first robot, so when the investigation will start remains unknown.

The completion of decommissioning is still far off, but the government in its "green growth strategy" insists that nuclear energy is a clean energy source, showing that it did not learn anything from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
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