OHTAWARA, JAPAN, Oct 17 — 800,000 pounds of radioactive ash have piled up at a garbage incineration plant over 100 km from the Fukushima meltdowns, according to a report on Reuters by Kiyoshi Takenaka. The Ohtawara plant is projected to run out of protected storage space in two weeks, after which radioactive ash will have to be left outdoors with no proper shelter.A city official explained why the ash has not been taken to a local dump: “Residents say they are worried about their children’s health and grandchildren’s health. Faced with such pleas, we just cannot make a move.”“Researchers say that problems arising from the radiation, scattered over mountains, rivers and residential areas, are set to persist for years,” reports Reuters. “The problem is here to stay.”
Kobe University professor Tomoya Yamauchi said, “I doubt the problem will go away in a year or two. It takes 30 years for caesium 137 to decay by half. Each time it rains, caesium deposited in mountains will be washed down to where people live.”
In northern Japan, government data shows the amount of stored-up radioactive ash and dehydrated sludge is up 63 percent in the last 11 weeks.