IAEA urges Japan to be less conservative in nuclear cleanup via Reuters

(Reuters) – Japan should be less conservative in cleaning up vast areas contaminated by radiation from the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, a team of visiting U.N. nuclear experts said on Friday.

Japan is burdened with the task of cleaning up the tsunami-hit Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, located 240 kilometres (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, and the surrounding regions.

The plant, crippled by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, has spread radiation, stoking public concerns and forcing some 80,000 people to leave their homes after the government banned entry within a 20 km radius of Daiichi.

Removing layers of topsoil from areas contaminated by radiation is one of the methods being considered by Japan, but the team of 12 experts sent by the Vienna-based International Atomic Agency (IAEA) said it would be impractical.

“We are not saying the government’s approach is over-conservative, what we want is for the government to avoid becoming over-conservative in the future,” said Tero Tapio Varjoranta, the team’s deputy leader.

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