Lower radiation readings proposed to speed return of Fukushima evacuees via The Asahi Shimbun

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has drafted a proposal to accelerate the return home of Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees by using radiation readings that tend to be lower than the ones now officially used.

The NRA wants residents to take radiation measurements with dosimeters instead of relying on the current government system of determining levels through aircraft monitoring.

The proposal does not seek a change in the long-term goal of reducing accumulated radiation exposure in affected communities to 1 millisievert a year.

But the government’s air dose rate has often been three to seven times higher than exposure levels checked by individual residents with dosimeters, according to a survey conducted by municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.

Given the same 1 millisievert target, radiation levels based on dosimeter readings could effectively become a more relaxed target than that based on the air dose rates.

The current dose rates are based on the assumption that people will spend eight hours a day outdoors and 16 hours indoors.

Since September, at the request of the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, a team consisting of NRA members and outside experts has discussed “scientific and technical aspects” of a basic direction regarding the return home of evacuees.

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