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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homeowners Complain About Decontamination Charges

Reports coming out of Japan indicate that homeowners in Fukushima-ken (Fukushima Prefecture) are upset with private decontamination companies overcharging them.

Apparently one homeowner (unidentified) says he was charged ¥1-million yen (~Cdn/US $13,000) from a private firm (not aligned with the government) to decontaminate his house.

According to the Fukushima Department of Decontamination other claims have been filed as well.

A representative of a Minamisoma-shi (Minasoma City) clean-up company says: "If we calculated the cost of decontamination the same way we calculate cleaning houses, which is ¥200,000 (~Cdn/US $2,605) to ¥300,000 (~Cdn/US $3,908) per house, that would be the standard rate."

Owing to the uncertainty of knowing when the government will actually clean their homes, residents have opted to hire private companies to decontaminate their homes.

According to sources, municipal governments will decontaminate specific areas one at a time - perhaps due to a lack of decontamination companies available to do the job properly.

Hello - foreign interests... perhaps there's an opportunity here for you?

With the lack of proper resources, homeowners have correctly surmised that it's going to be a long wait until their homes are cleaned.

In fact, decontamination of homes only begun on October 18, 2011 in Fukushima-shi (Fukushima City) where, according to local authorities there are plans to clean some 110,000 houses as well as streets and public buildings.

The complaint against the private sector gouging local homeowners is a cry for help. If standard decontamination guidelines and pricing are not quickly constructed, there will be further public outcry.

Other complaints insist that the contamination efforts should have begun a lot sooner.

How much should it cost?

Questions have also arisen as to who will pay for the decontamination costs. If the entire city of Fukushima is going to be cleaned, is it a prefecture cost or will the federal Japan government dig deep into its already bare coffers to cover the cost... or is this something an insurance company will handle provided a homeowner has proper home coverage? Or is this a municipal cost? Should TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) who own the Dai-ichi (Big One) nuclear power generation facility that nearly had three meltdowns be forced to pay?

And where do these decontamination companies and agencies store the removed radioactive waste? It's not just household items, it's also soil and sludge left over by the tsunami that is now irradiated.

And... the Dai-ichi plant is still releasing some radiation... just not the high levels it was immediately after the March 11, 2011 disasters.

Here's a press release from TEPCO given out on October 23, 2011: PRESS RELEASE

Files by Andrew Joseph

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