MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima–The Minami-Soma municipal government began decontamination work by removing radioactive substances throughout the city Monday, except for places inside the no-entry zone.
The work, being carried out in such locations as Kashima Primary School in the Kashima district, is aimed at reducing the level of radiation so the emergency evacuation preparation zone for the city can be scrapped. The zone lies outside the 20-kilometer-radius no-entry area of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, but within 30 kilometers of the plant.
Under the municipal government’s plan, the surface soil of playgrounds at primary and middle schools and kindergartens will be removed, while walls and rooftops of buildings will be cleaned with high-pressure hoses.
At 8 a.m. in Kashima Primary School, construction workers started removing soil about five centimeters deep with heavy machinery. The soil will be buried in a hole on the school grounds.
The city government has earmarked 960 million yen in its fiscal 2011 supplementary budget for the initial phase of the decontamination.
Decontamination work will be expedited in August and September at 35 public facilities–primary and middle schools, kindergartens, day-care centers and children’s centers.
Subsidies will be given to private facilities such as kindergartens and day-care centers to conduct decontamination work on their own.
“We want schoolchildren to have a safe environment,” Kashima Primary School Principal Masanori Monma said.