The clean-up efforts at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant could bring about 100 million cubic meters of soil which may need to be removed for radioactive materials, said Yuichi Moriguchi, a professor from University of Tokyo and who sits at the Environmental Ministry panel.
The government said the amount may be lessened should the area for decontamination be limited only to residential districts and farmland. Another option is to come up with technologies which could remove radioactive elements from the soil.
The university professor has estimated that one-seventh of the land in the entire Fukushima Prefecture or an equivalent of 2,000-square-kilometer area may need to be removed with radioactive materials.
The calculation is based on the assumption that the soil should have radiation levels of 1 microsievert or more per hour. Stripping off 5 centimeters of top soil, scientists claimed, will get rid of the cesium contents in the soil.
While Moriguchi believed that it may not necessarily require that the entire 2,000-square-kilometer area be decontaminated, the estimates, he said, would help people understand how huge the removal work can be. The storage facility for the radioactive soil and waste which may need to be built within the Fukushima Prefecture in line with this clean-up effort is estimated to cost around 80 trillion yen.
Moriguchi presented his calculations to the Environment Ministry panel during its very first meeting on September 14. The panel will have to formulate standards for removing radioactive materials by end of November and begin the removal of soil by January next year.