On numerous occasions, we have reported the concerns expressed by the people in Fukushima who question the effectiveness of decontamination, despite the huge sums of money being spent. The decontamination efforts have been promoted to prevent the outflow of population and encourage the return of the evacuees. But it is not working. Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fielded a mission to Fukushima, to assess the progress in the decontamination programs being implemented. One of the recommendations issued as a result reads as follows:
“Japanese institutions are encouraged to increase efforts to communicate that in remediation situations, any level of individual radiation dose in the range of 1 to 20 mSV per year is acceptable and in line with the international standards, and with the recommendations from the relevant international organizations, e. g. ICRP, IAEA, UNSCEAR and WHO. …...........The government should strengthen its effort to explain to the public that an additional individual dose of 1 mSv/y is a long-term goal, and that it cannot be achieved on short term, e. g. solely by decontamination work............The benefits of this strategy, which would allow resources to be allocated to the recovery of essential infrastructure to enhance living conditions, should be carefully communicated to the public.”
(See the full report at http://www.env.go.jp/press/file_view.php?serial=23189&hou_id=17283)
The response by the Japanese government? According to Yomiuri Newspaper, 11/8/13, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority is preparing a guideline for the return of the evacuees based on the premise that there are no major health risks if annual cumulative dose is below 20 mSv. This is intended to mitigate the anxiety based on scientific understandings, since 1 mSv as the government's long-term goal is accepted as a safety standard by the general public.
Reuters also reports that the working group of the majority parties has completed the task of formulating the recommendations to Prime Minster Abe on the measures to intensify the rebuilding of Fukushima. They also maintain that any dose between 1 and 20 mSv/y is acceptable. in accordance with international standards. With regard to decontamination, they state 1mSv is a long-term goal, which cannot be achieved only through short term decontamination.