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Berkeley, California, U.S.A: The Future of Fukushima: A New Generation Rises to the Challenge “How did high school students – using innovative sensors – promote the recovery from an environmental disaster?” was held at UC Berkeley’s David Brower Center
Date: October30, 2017

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGiwz_bjY9erKFEyEDc535Q External link
(Details of this colloquium will be published on the above websites at later dates.)

A public event, titled “The Future of Fukushima: A New Generation Rises to the Challenge,” was held at David Brower Center on October 30, 2017, hosted by Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Center for Japanese Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Fukushima Prefecture has achieved a remarkable recovery after the nuclear accident in 2011. Thanks to extensive clean-up of a large part of the area as large as the state of Connecticut, more than 97% of the region is at natural background levels. However, negative perception still persists across Japan and the world, causing economic and psychological damages within the region. A group of local high-school students teamed up with Professor Ryugo Hayano at the University of Tokyo in 2015 to face this challenge head-on, collecting their own radiation data using a new portable sensor, called D Shuttle.

Monday’s event – highlighting their efforts and experiences – came to fruition through the joint efforts of Dr. Haruko Wainwright, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Prof. Ryugo Hayano. It featured presentations by Professor Hayano and three high-school students from Fukushima, who discussed what they learned from their experiences following the accident and from their research. The students also delivered their positive messages for the future of Fukushima to the audience of some 122 in the Bay Area.

The event commenced with Dr. Haruko Wainwright’s speech on the importance of monitoring and measurements in the wake of environmental disasters. She discussed various research activities to which Berkeley Lab has been contributing in the Fukushima region. Dr. Wainwright argued that the efforts in Fukushima could be a model case for community empowerment though citizen science at many contaminated sites around the world. Prof. Hayano and the three high-school students then took the podium for the conversation-style presentation. During their talk, Prof. Hayano highlighted their peer-reviewed paper titled Comparative Radiation Levels Taken by High-School Students Worldwide, which concluded that the radiation level in Fukushima was not any higher than other places in the world.

The three high-school students also shared their personal stories during and after the accidents as well as their aspirations for the future. Shunya Okino, a 2nd-year student at Fukushima High School and a member of the Super Science Club explained how his parents’ scientific knowledge helped his family act calmly in the wake of the accident. Honoka Ara, a student at the same high school, talked about her research into food safety and agriculture issues in Fukushima. Ryo Endo, a 2nd-year student at Fukushima Futaba Future School, was born near the power plant and has been evacuated for the last six and half years. He is determined to become a nuclear engineer to close and clean up the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Next, two American journalists(Natalie Yemenidjian, Guadalupe González)who had stayed in Fukushima in 2015 in an exchange program between San Francisco State University and Fukushima University, reported on their firsthand experiences in the prefecture.

In closing, a representative of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment explained the progress in environmental recovery in Fukushima and said, “We deeply thank everyone in the world for their support and assistance for the areas of our country affected by the March 2011 disaster. I invite you all to come visit Fukushima.”

After these speeches, there were also exhibits and a video presentation on Fukushima. The presentations were followed by refreshments and networking by those in attendance.

International Symposium on Remediation Of Radioactive Contamination in the Environment
Date: July20, 2017

The "International Symposium on Remediation of Radioactive Contamination in the Environment" was held at the Toho Minnano Bunka Center in Fukushima City on Thursday, July 20, 2017. It was sponsored by the Society for Remediation of Radioactive Contamination in Environment (SRRCE) and co-sponsored by Ministry of the Environment.

This symposium was staged in conjunction with the sixth research presentation conference of SRRCE. Invited speakers were Dr. Hans Codée, former director of the Netherlands Radioactive Waste Central Organization (COVRA), Dr. Mark Zheleznyak, Professor of Institute of Environmental Radioactivity of Fukushima University, Mr. Ryutaro Yatsu, president of Japan Environmental Storage and Safety Corporation (JESCO) and Mr. Daisuke Uesako of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

At the symposium, firstly Mr. Uesako reported on the outline and achievements of the decontamination project in Fukushima Prefecture, the outline and current status of the Interim Storage Facilities and related topics followed by Dr. Zheleznyak who gave an outline of the accident and pollution situation at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in comparison with that of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In addition, he described a modelling study on the diffusion of radioactive substances by the hydrological system at Chernobyl, explaining the modelling study on diffusion of radioactive substances by the hydrological system in Fukushima prefecture which is currently being conducted.

For the next, Dr. Codée, former director of COVRA, presented the approach and outline of interim storage facilities for radioactive waste in the Netherlands. It is currently placed in containers under the concept of recycling and reusing the material after a decay period of radioactive nuclides. For contaminated soil in Fukushima, various options such as volume reduction can be considered. In addition to this, he talked about the idea of storing cesium 137 during a decay period of 30 (or 120) years, and then recycling/reusing the material for foundations of artificial islands, levees, aircraft runways, and solar facilities.

Finally, President Yatsu of JESCO introduced past progress and future developments for Interim Storage Facilities. He covered the situation of Interim Storage Facilities currently operated in Futaba Town and Okuma Town, and anticipated issues, etc. At the closing, he gave an outline of JESCO and its relationship with Interim Storage Facilities.

The 3rd IAEA-MOE Experts' Meeting
Date: April17-21, 2017

The 3rd IAEA-MOE Experts' Meeting on Environmental Remediation of Off-Site Areas after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident was held in Tokyo and Fukushima from 17 -21 April 2017.
Since Ministry of the Environment(MOE) completed the whole area decontamination in Special Decontamination Area(SDA) as the end of March 2017, based on the Decontamination Implementation Plan, the meeting covered four topics as below;

  • The outcomes of the environmental remediation works carried out at the off-site areas affected by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
  • The lessons learned on remediation based on data collected in Date City;
  • The evaluation of the effects of the whole area decontamination
  • The way of sharing the results from the applied technologies for decontamination and waste volume reduction with the international community.

As the summary shows, IAEA team gave some proposal of suggestions to MOE for further consideration in progressing the environmental remediation and related works.
IAEA team also concluded that significant progress has been made with the remediation in the offsite areas affected by the accident, and that steady progress on the ISF construction and soil/waste transportation to this facility has been made.
Site visits to review the activities on soil-recycling conducted in Minami-Soma City and the incineration of combustible waste in a dedicated facility in Date City took place during the last day of the week.

The summary of the meeting is as follows; PDF link

IAEA, Japan discuss next steps on recovery efforts around Fukushima after major milestone achieved(IAEA)

The 2nd IAEA-MOE Experts' Meeting
Date: November 14-18, 2016

The 2nd IAEA-MOE Experts' Meeting on Environmental Remediation of Off-Site Areas after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident was held in Tokyo and Fukushima from 14-18 November 2016.
There were 7 experts from the IAEA side and 15 officials and experts from the Japanese side attended.
The meeting focused on current status of environmental remediation in Japan, volume reduction of the contaminated soil (including reuse and recycling), and knowledge management of environmental remediation,etc. .

In Fukushima, authority of Fukushima Prefecture explained decontamination activities and health management of the residents,while Mr. Shoji Nishida, Mayor of Date city, told the experts the decision-making process in case of emergencies and lessons learned from the decontamination activities.
They also went to the PR facility in Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation.
After that, they visited Interim Storage Facility(ISF), which has juststarted the construction. They obtained first-hand information on the environmental remediation activities in the off-site area.

Meeting of OECD Global Parliamentary Network in Paris, France
Date: October 12, 2016

The meeting of OECD Global Parliamentary Network was held on October 12 in Paris.

In this meeting, the brochure ”Progress in Fukushima” and the video messages from Mr. Tadahiko ITO, State Minister of the Environment, Japan, and Mr. Masao UCHIBORI, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, were delivered to each participant. Both of them emphasized the steady progress and safety of food in Fukushima.

At lunch, the foods such as rice, saké and soy sauce from Fukushima were served ;It started with a short ceremony called “Kagami-biraki”, breaking saké barrel. After that, about 80 participants made toast and had sushi with rice from Fukushima. They enjoyed the lunch and realized the safety and attractiveness of the products of Fukushima.

The 5th Annual Meeting of SRRCE and International Symposium of Environment Radioactive Contamination” on July 8 (Fri.) 2016 in Fukushima
Post date:2016.9.9

The 5th Annual Meeting of the SRRCE and International Symposium of Environment Radioactive Contamination was held in Fukushima by the Society for Remediation of Radioactive Contamination in Environment (SRRCE), co-hosted by the Ministry of the Environment.
Experts from U.S. and Japan were invited and made presentations on current status of decontamination and environmental remediation as well as related research and development of technologies, in which over 150 people attended. Each presentation is as follows;

Dr. Seiji Ozawa, Deputy Director-General, Headquarters for Fukushima Environmental Restoration, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, gave a presentation on the legal frame work of decontamination activities and current status of the Interim Storage Facility (ISF). He also introduced the approaches for relationship with local residents and cooperation with international societies.

Dr. Yasuo Onishi, professor of Washington State University, formerly worked for Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, presented the codes to assess environmental contamination and their effectiveness with examples applied to contamination assessment caused by Chernobyl nuclear accident and clean-up of hazardous materials in U.S. He also explained methods to reduce or extract radioactive cesium concentration from sediments.

Mr. Jon Richards, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), showed Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for late phase, EPA’s views on clean-up goals and contaminated waste management, and several approaches for decision-making, based on the experiences from radiation dispersion device (RDD) exercises or case studies of international real incidents.

Dr. Kazuki Iijima, from the Fukushima Environmental Safety Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), gave a presentation about F-TRACE project (a Long-term Assessment of Transport of Radioactive Contaminant in the Environment of Fukushima) by JAEA. The latest findings on a migration behavior of radioactive cesium in forests and mountains were reported.

Dr. Kenji Nanba, director of the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (IER), Fukushima University, introduced some examples of support activities for decontamination or agriculture by Fukushima pref. and Fukushima Univ. In addition, plans of research and development in IER on the future behavior of radioactive cesium in the environment and the decontamination methods were presented.

Dr. Ryutaro Yatsu, President and CEO Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation (JESCO), showed us the outline of JESCO’s role and plan of interim storage project in Fukushima, the current trends and issues on volume reduction technology of radioactive wastes, and recycling of treated soil.

The data of those presentations above are as below;

International Conference on Advancing the Global Implementation of Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation Programmes (Madrid, Spain)
Date:May23(Mon.)~27(Fri.), 2016.
Post date:2016.7.1

International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) held an international conference "Advancing the Global Implementation of Decommissioning And Environmental Remediation Programmes" on May23-27 in Madrid, Spain.
About 500 persons from member countries and international organization attended the meeting and exchanged their views on environmental remediation.

The presentations of MOE are as below;

The “Report by the Conference Chair“ is as below;

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