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Parents of 14 Children Initiate Legal Proceedings for Mass Evacuation of Schools in Koriyama City, Fukushima Pref.

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As an introduction, here is a translation of an article in Japanese from Our Planet. There is also a video here, but in Japanese. I may provide a summary later if I have time...

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Fourteen Children of Koriyama City (Fukushima Prefecture) File for a Provisional Injunction to Demand a Mass Evacuation of Schools [Official name of the trial is Fukushima Shu-dan Sokai Saiban, The Fukushima Mass Evacuation Trial]
(Our Planet, 15:32, Saturday, 25 June 2011)

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The parents of 14 elementary and middle school children who attend schools in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture filed a provisional injunction against Koriyama City on 24 June at the Koriyama Branch of the Fukushima District Court to demand a mass evacuation by each school due to strong fears of health damage from radiation emitted by the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. This is the first case of a request for the judiciary to decide on radiation exposure due to the nuclear power station accident.

In April, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) issued a notification that the standard for radiation exposure of schoolchildren in school playgrounds would be set at a maximum of 20 millisieverts/year. This, however, met with opposition from parents, and at the end of May MEXT announced that it would set a goal of less than one millisievert/year, the limit for radiation exposure for the general public set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Nevertheless, estimates from the monitoring data by MEXT and others show that the radiation air dose at the seven elementary and middle schools the 14 children are attending reached an accumulated 3.80 to 6.67 millisieverts in just 75 days, from the time the accident occurred on 12 March up to 25 May. Since the external radiation exposure alone greatly exceeds 1 millisievert, the parents are demanding a mass evacuation for each school due to the risk of health damage from radiation exposure.

According to the estimate by the legal team, of the 266 elementary and middle schools in urban areas in Fukushima Prefecture, only five schools show an accumulated annual dose of less than 1 millisievert. Even in Aizu, where the dose rate is relatively low, only one school is below the I milliseivert/year level. Following the filing of the injunction, the legal team held a press conference in Koriyama City at which one of the lawyers, Ken’ichi Ido stated, “The purpose of this action is to see that all children in Fukushima Prefecture are able to take classes in a safe place.”

Until March this year, Mr. Ido was a judge at the Kanazawa Chapter of the Nagoya Court of Appeal. In 2006, he handed down a verdict suspending the operation of the No.2 reactor at the Hokuriku Power Company’s Shika Nuclear Power Station in Ishikawa Prefecture.

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Also see/hear Skype conversations between Chris Busby and the legal team at a press conference on June 24 - with English-Japanese/Japanese-English non-simultaneous interpreting, which takes quite a long time.

2) For a little more background to the MEXT standards and the backlash from the parents see the following entry in the Rolling Update No.3 on the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station disaster.

Huge Outcry Erupting: Gov’t is leaving Fukushima to suffer and perish — Impossible to evacuate Fukushima City, home to 300,000 under the update for May 23.

3) For a little more background to Mr. Ken'ichi Ido, see the gist of the article from the Tokyo Newspaper (in green font) under the update for April 23. He was the only judge ever in Japan to hand down a verdict against a nuclear power plant reactor.

4) This is the first case to be filed on radiation exposure due to the nuclear power station accident, but at least one more (in Ibaraki Prefecture) is in preparation.

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Comments

Gosh, this is so sad. Now we are going to have years of legal argument about what constitutes "safety"? Tepco and friends will surely drag that one out. And all the while, little kids will be peeing radioactivity.

OT, but apropos of some of the difficulties any attempt Fukushima Daiichi clean-up might face in future, here's a link to a 2007 engineering presentation on the Dounreay Shaft Isolation (SI) Project (scroll down a bit to find it/PDF only).

The SI project became necessary after a huge explosion in a waste shaft at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Scotland in 1977. 100kg uranium and 4kg plutonium wastes are known to be in shaft.

The relevant pages are pp7-17. Page 11, a schematic showing the contents of the shaft, is illuminating, as is page 12, showing how much waste was chucked into the shaft each year (eg 1965 quite a lot, 1970 not so much). There’s also a photo (unattributed, undated, uncaptioned) on page 14, which I take to be the view from the top of the shaft, looking in, which is absolutely shocking.

Recently, I was told by an engineer that apocryphally, the contents of the shaft are broadly unknown/were never fully documented, and that there’s a Ford Cortina down there. Also, that efforts to discover its contents ended in failure, probes couldn’t operate. As I say, this is apocryphal, so who know?

But what is known is that the clean-up of Dounreay, including this explosion, which much smaller than anything that has happened so far at Fukushima Daiichi, was expected to take 60 years in 2000 (if clean-up is possible at all, which is moot) and to total £4.5bn/US$7.2bn.

Of that vast sum, the 20-year project to isolate the shaft is alone estimated at £355m/US$570m.