Lifting of Fukushima villages’ evacuation advisory to be delayed

JIJI

The government Friday decided to postpone the estimated timing of lifting of an evacuation advisory by one year — until March 2015 — for two villages in Fukushima Prefecture due to delays in decontamination work following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The two villages are Iitate and Katsurao. It is the first time for the estimated timing to have been moved back. Such estimated timings to lift the evacuation advisory have also been set for three other Fukushima municipalities, including the city of Minamisoma and the town of Okuma.

The estimated timing was pushed back for parts of Iitate and Katsurao, where annual radiation doses stand between over 20 and 50 millisieverts, and areas where annual doses are 20 millisieverts or below, according to the government’s Fukushima headquarters for tackling the nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant damaged by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

There is no change in the estimated timing for other areas of the two villages.

When it reviewed the evacuation area status for Iitate and Katsurao, the government set the estimated timing of lifting the advisory three to six years after the nuclear accident.

But the government said in December that the completion of decontamination work in the villages will be delayed by up to two to three years, citing difficulties securing places for temporary storage of radiation-tainted debris generated in the decontamination work.