IAEA Delivers Final Report on Remediation in Fukushima to Japan

Remediation workers check bags of soil and other decontamination waste at a temporary storage site in Date city in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (Photo: G. Tudor/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) handed Japan the final report from an expert mission that reviewed remediation efforts in areas affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

The IAEA report, which is available online, describes the findings of the Follow-up IAEA International Mission on Remediation of Large Contaminated Areas Off-Site the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, held on 14 to 21 October 2013. The report highlights important progress in all areas to date, and offers advice on several points where the team feels it is still possible to further improve current practices.

Juan Carlos Lentijo, Director of the IAEA Division of Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, led the 16-member mission team, which comprised international experts and IAEA staff working in a range of disciplines including radiation protection, remediation approaches and technologies, waste management and stakeholder involvement.

"The Mission Team was impressed by the amount of resources allocated and by the intense work that Japan is carrying out in efforts to remediate the affected areas and promote the return of evacuees to their homes, together with efforts for reconstruction of those areas," he said.

The team welcomed progress achieved following the first IAEA remediation mission in October 2011, including the remediation of farmland and forest areas. The team also welcomed significant progress by municipalities and the national government in the development and establishment of temporary storage facilities for contaminated materials generated by on-going remediation activities. In addition, the mission team noted the progress made towards the national Government's creation of interim storage facilities, with the cooperation of municipalities and local communities.

The mission observed that comprehensive implementation of food safety measures is in place to protect consumers and improve consumer confidence in farm produce, reflected in an increase in the economic value of the crops.

Japanese authorities were encouraged to sustain current public communication efforts and enhance these whenever necessary, especially with a view to explaining to the public that, in remediation situations, any level of individual radiation dose in the range of 1 to 20 mSv per year is acceptable and in line with the international standards and with the recommendations from the relevant international organisations such as ICRP, IAEA, UNSCEAR and WHO.

The team recognized the efforts to reduce residual doses to less than 1 mSv per year, but stressed that this target is a long-term goal, and that it cannot be achieved in a short time - for example, through decontamination work alone. The IAEA is ready to continue to support Japan in its remediation efforts, at its request.

The Mission was in line with the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was unanimously endorsed by the IAEA's Member States in September 2011 and defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework.

Last update: 4 November 2014