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Gov't proposes reusing Fukushima's decontaminated soil on green land

The Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing
decontaminated soil from disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture as
landfill for parks and green areas.

At a meeting of an advisory panel, the ministry also called for
launching a new organization to map out plans on how to gain public
understanding about the reuse of decontaminated soil, ministry
officials said.

The proposals come at a time when Fukushima Prefecture faces a
shortage of soil due to the decontamination work following the 2011
nuclear meltdown.

At the meeting of experts on radioactivity, the ministry
presented a plan under which decontaminated soil will be reused only
on green land and not in residential areas. The decontaminated soil
will be used to fill in areas of depressed land and vegetation will
be planted on it.

Last year, the ministry decided to use the soil -- containing
radioactive cesium of between 5,000 and 8,000 becquerels per kilogram
or lower -- in public projects such as building coastal levees and
roads across the country.

But it remains unclear whether such reuse of decontaminated soil
will proceed smoothly as some residents affected by the projects may
oppose the plans.

The ministry is now considering using the soil containing cesium
with stricter standards so that workers and residents living around
the area would be exposed to less than 1 millisieverts per year. (March 27)