Japan reaches out to US firms for decontamination aid in Fukushima

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In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the citizens of Japan are struggling to limit potential pathways for exposure to radioactive materials spread over wide areas including the high dose rate regions to the North-West of the Fukushima plant.  The radioactive materials released into the environment have been detected in soil, sand, and sludge removed from culverts in residential neighborhoods and in twigs and leaves gathered during everyday cleaning, even in areas of Fukushima prefecture beyond the Restricted Area and Deliberate Evacuation Area. Among these are soil and sand from locations which show a higher dose rate than the surrounding areas.

The central Japanese government has the initiative for decontamination, in cooperation with the municipalities.  A team consisting of government officials and JAEA’s experts has been established in the city of Fukushima since August 24th of last year, to promote decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Japanese government decided to invite about 30 U.S. companies specializing in decontamination in late June of this year, to ensure decontamination of areas contaminated by the accident at the Fukushima I nuclear power station, the Denki Shimbun reports.

The Japanese and U.S. governments exchanged letters in March confirming comprehensive cooperation in nuclear research and development. Accident response, decommissioning and decontamination were listed as additional fields of cooperation. The invitation of the U.S. firms is an outcome of cooperation between both governments.

The U.S. firms include the Shaw Group, Energy Solutions and Los Alamos Technical Associates, Inc. (LATA), which have expertise in decontamination. They plan to exhibit their know-how and products, exchange opinions with local governments in Fukushima Prefecture and visit decontamination sites.

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