Saturday, March 3, 2012

Local gov'ts, farmers struggle with hundreds of tons of radiation-tainted rice straw, Japan

Local governments and farmers in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have been struggling unsuccessfully to dispose of hundreds of metric tons of rice straw, sewage sludge and ash tainted with radiation from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The central government has been trying to take steps to deal with the problem, which was largely unexpected before the outbreak of the nuclear crisis caused by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, but there are no signs yet of the problem being solved anytime soon.

Junichi Sasaki, a 61-year-old cattle farmer in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, has been working tirelessly to move radiation-tainted rice straw into a "pipe house" he recently built.

"At long last, I've moved a step forward. But this is just the beginning," he said. Read More