IAEA team to help Fukushima decontamination

Kyodo

Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit Fukushima Prefecture for five days starting July 22 to support decontamination efforts.

The experts will be provided with local radiation data, tour disaster-hit areas and support Fukushima’s compilation of radiation maps, and radioactive decontamination and waste disposal efforts under the IAEA’s three-year agreement with the prefecture, a senior IAEA official said Monday.

The IAEA agreed with Fukushima Prefecture in December to implement joint projects for radioactive decontamination and residents’ health, and sent experts for coordination of the projects in late February.

In April, the IAEA and Fukushima signed the three-year agreement to jointly look into the spread of radioactive substances and decontamination knowhow.

Because of the difficulty of assessing radiation in forests, which account for around 70 percent of the prefecture, no decision has yet been made on the decontamination process.

The experts include some who were involved in handling the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the former Soviet Union, the IAEA official said.

The U.N. agency plans to provide radiation data online to help ensure local residents’ safety, the official said.

The IAEA experts are expected to consult with Fukushima officials on the safe incineration of radioactive waste and on decontamination measures, and to propose specific measures based on international standards.