JAPAN | 3 major parties join forces to draw up draft bill to remove irradiated soil

Posted on August 16, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 16 August 2011

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New Komeito party and other parties have worked together to draw up a draft bill to remove radioactive substances from soil and rubble that leaked from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the Mainichi has learned.

Under the measure, the central government will be responsible for decontaminating areas with heavy irradiated soil, or “special areas.”

The bill will be submitted as a lawmaker-initiated bill, known as a “chairman’s proposal” endorsed by various parties.

An original cleanup plan prepared by the DPJ on Aug. 3 stipulated that the state will not prevent requests to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay the costs associated with the decontamination effort. But the updated bill clearly states that costs for the decontamination work will be shouldered by TEPCO under the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damages.

The draft bill envisions “special areas” as no-go “warning areas” within 20 kilometers of the power plant stricken by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the environment minister will designate such areas.

If other areas outside such no-entry zones are heavily irradiated beyond government standards, they will be designated as contamination monitoring areas and local governments involved will engage in the decontamination work.

The DPJ bill had called on local governments concerned to carry out decontamination operations in principle.

If areas are feared to be inflicted with irradiated rubble and other waste that requires special management, the environment minister will designate such parts as areas with contaminated waste and the central government will decontaminate those areas.

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