Subscription Only: Fukushima municipalities forced to go it alone on radiation testing
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 24, 2012
a shortage of machines to carry out the checks means that thousands of people are still waiting for reassurance.
Many others have struggled to get tests. The Fukushima prefectural government started WBC checks in June 2011, focusing mainly on evacuees. However, the prefecture had to ask them to travel to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s office in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture and other distant facilities with the appropriate equipment.
In late 2011, it introduced a fleet of vehicle-mounted WBCs that has now increased to six, and by the end of March 2012, a total of 32,000 people, or about 2 percent of the prefecture’s population, had received the prefectural WBC checkups.
“We, the Namie town government, bought a WBC by ourselves because the central government is late in dealing with this health issue. We are definitely suffering from radiation exposure in our bodies, and we want to implement appropriate health checkups for our residents,” [Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba] said.
In order to measure radiation levels in human bodies accurately, radiation levels in the surrounding environment should be low, but the radiation level in Nihonmatsu city ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 microsievert per hour.
“That level is not low. But we were unable to secure an appropriate place,” said a Namie town government official.
Published: May 25th, 2012 at 2:46 pm ET