Decontamination work has begun on houses in the Shidamyo and Ogi areas in Kawamaemachi-Shimookeuri, Iwaki City. The residential neighborhoods are 28 km south-west of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. By the end of this year they will have decontaminated 7 homes and by March, 2012, they hope to have decontaminated a total of 46 homes.
The area was reported as a hotspot with outside radiation levels of 1 ~ 3 microsievert/hr. In the initial days of the nuclear disaster, residents were ordered to remain indoors. The order was lifted on April 22nd. The city hopes that decontamination will reduce the level to below 0.5 microsievert/hr. Once the work is complete, they will re-measure the homes.
Approximately 20 City staff and contractors are carrying out the work. The work includes cleaning out leaves from gutters and around the homes, removing any contaminated trash and removing a layer of topsoil from the garden.
A resident said that she is relieved work is finally starting, although she worries about the radiation exposure over the past 9 months following the nuclear meltdowns.
On October 18, decontamination work also began in Onami-ku, Fukushima City (70 km north-west of Fukushima Daiichi). In the first house, radiation levels from the grass in the garden were 3 microsievert/hr, and as high as 30 microsievert/hr in the roof gutters. The annual radiation dose from that home was estimated at 5 millisieverts.
Eco Japan, Nikkei Business Publications, December 13, 2011.
The Mainichi Shimbun, December 14, 2011.