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» Belated report released caused confusion among the areas where evacuation orders were lifted

Belated government estimates of radiation doses that residents would face if they returned to their homes near the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have raised concern that an evacuation order was lifted too early.

For one area in the village of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, where the government wants to lift the order, the study said an individual engaged in farming could receive a dose of 3 to 3.5 millisieverts per year — at least triple the long-term decontamination goal of 1 millisievert set by the government and what residents had expected before coming back.
According to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, radiation dosages must be brought down to at least 20 millisieverts to let residents return, but many evacuees hope the haphazard decontamination effort will achieve the 1 millisievert goal before they go back to resume what’s left of their shattered lives.

The study, which the Cabinet Office did not disclose for six months, is expected to help evacuees learn how much radiation they might receive once they return. But the government only released the report nearly three weeks after Tamura’s Miyakoji district became the first area in the 20-km radius exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant to see its evacuation order lifted.

The district’s evacuation order was lifted on April 1.

After the Cabinet Office explained the report on dose estimates to local governments in the hot zone earlier this month, it was posted on the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Monday.

The study was carried out last August and September and covered 44 locations in the Miyakoji district of the city of Tamura and the villages of Kawauchi and Iitate.

Using the data collected, research institutes calculated that the radiation exposure for an average adult — as measured by dosimeters carried by individuals — tends to be 70 percent of the airborne radiation level. They also estimated personal doses by taking lifestyle diversity into account, including different jobs and ages.

The estimates said people in the forestry industry would be exposed to higher doses than people in other professions. The levels ranged from 2.3 millisieverts per year in the Miyakoji district and 17 millisieverts per year in part of Iitate, which remains a habitation-restricted zone.

The Cabinet Office team tasked with aiding people affected by the crisis in Fukushima Prefecture received an “interim report” on the study from the research institutes — the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency — in October 2013.But because it waited six months to disclose the report, the team drew fire from Miyakoji residents who returned before learning about its existence.



<Media Report>
Late report on radiation irks Tamura (Japan Times)

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