Japan starts decontamination

Feb. 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM
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IITATE, Japan, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Japan began decontaminating villages near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, despite there being a lack of knowledge on how to do so, officials said.

The Japanese government has started handing out $13 billion in contracts to construction companies meant to rehabilitate the more than 8,000-square-mile region most exposed to radioactive fallout, The New York Times reported Friday.

Critics of the work see little point in decontaminating the area without an expertise in the matter.

"No experts yet exist in decontamination and there is no reason why the state should pay big money to big construction companies," said Yoichi Tao, a visiting professor in physics at Kogakuin University who is helping people in the village of Iitate test decontamination methods.

However, a spokesman Taisei, a construction company that has already received a government contract, said the company is building expertise in decontamination.

"We are building expertise as we work," said Fumiyasu Hirai, the Taisei spokesman. "It is a process of trial and error, but we are well-equipped for the job."

The government plans to return as many of the 80,000 people displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to there homes.

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