A village next to the devastated nuclear power plants in Fukushima

There is a village named ”Iitate” in Fukushima Prefecture. It used to be a peaceful farming and dairy area located on a highland in Abukuma Mountains. Not very popular at all. It has been assaulted by the radioactive contamination due to the nuclear power plant accident nearby in 2011. This village is located about 20 miles north west of that crippled nuclear power plant and was hit by the radioactive plume caused by the explosions of the reactors. The name of this village is well known in Japan. I have been anxious to know how this village looks like now. Having a chance to visit Fukushima a week ago, I drove through there.

A valley with many slopes. Winding roads were running west to east. Along the street, there have been a number of houses. Some of them seemed vacant while the others had someone living. I have seen only very few people. It was an odd scene that the farms extended along the both sides of the street were not cultivated but were used as the temporary storage places for the decontaminated material. The decontaminated material was packed into black vinyl containers piled on those farms. Of course, the soil must be too much contaminated with radioactive to use for farming. Thousands of containers with it on the farms looked unsuitable for the peaceful countryside. 

I know, even before the accident, it was a sparsely populated area. The statistics of the population data in the web site of the village says the most of the population is still evacuated. The radiation dose in the air seems around 5 to 8 mSv/a year. At some places, it hits over 10. No one would stay there with family, especially, with small children, most sensitive to radiation. 

The web site of the village shows a plan for the recovery of the village from the damage of this accident. However, it is most unlikely to be realized, at least, in a decade or two.

There used to be an event of willful negligence for the people in this area by the authority at the accident. Without having any prediction of radioactive contamination from the government, the people around the nuclear plant is told to have escaped this way at the accident. It was the wrong way. As told before, the radioactive plume has brought contaminated air along the valley to this way. Spending so much money, they had developed, prior to this accidnet, an application to predict where the radioactive substances will fly to. This SPEEDI has clearly predicted the contamination spreading this way. But they have never published it to the people. Some people have moved this way from less contaminated places. The authority should have informed them this area could be badly contaminated or, at least, it was actually contaminated. But no info was given to them. It was a criminal negligence by the authority, wasn't it?

It was a quiet and peaceful countryside if there had been more people working for the farms there. But, due to that accident, it was deformed to be a silent place without liveliness.

On the way back to the inland area where the highway lead to our home, I have run across a couple of young boys dragging their bicycles. They might be on the way home from their school. It was the only young people whom I had met there. Their existence has relieved me a bit. But I could not help asking if they won't be hurted with the radiation. There should be no threshold for carcinogenesis of radiation. Some researchers still insist they should have those young people move to the other places free from radiation. All I could do was to wish them very good luck.

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