I think that a lot of us have suspected this for a while, but a new report should officially begin the debate.
As The Guardian reported today:
Japanese officials have admitted for the first time that thousands of people evacuated from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may never be able to return home.
A report by members of the governing Liberal Democratic party [LDP] and its junior coalition partner urges the government to abandon its promise to all 160,000 evacuees that their irradiated homes will be fit to live in again.
The plan instead calls for financial support for displaced residents to move to new homes elsewhere, and for more state funding for the storage of huge quantities of radioactive waste being removed from the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant.
The parties’ admission that some areas closest to the wrecked facility will remain too contaminated for people to make a permanent return is a blow to official assurances that radiation can be brought down to safe levels.
The Guardian article spells out the staggering expenses involved in cleaning up after the 2011 accident:
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], is supposed to pay back government loans to fund the cleanup, but has balked at the huge expense while it focuses on a costly decommissioning operation at Fukushima Daiichi that is expected to last at least 30 years.
The government is prepared to borrow another 3tn yen to compensate evacuees and speed up decontamination of homes, schools and other public buildings in areas where reducing radiation levels is more realistic, reports say.
The new funding will bring Japan’s expenditure on the nuclear crisis so far to $80 bn. That figure does not cover the cost of decommissioning the damaged reactors.
Here’s a link to The Guardian article: