• Rice farming returns to Naraha Town. Farmers planted seedlings on a four hectare paddy on Friday. Naraha’s evacuation order was lifted last September, and test farming was done to insure that rice radioactivity was below the 100 Becquerels per kilogram limit for marketing. After the test crop was found to be well-below the national standard, shipments of the rice began in March. The town plans to plant a total of 20 hectares this year, and harvest in October. A problem is that only about 10% of the Naraha population has returned home, so there is a worker shortage. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160520_20/
  • The freshwater fishing business returns to Miyakoji. River fish distributor Yoshida Suisan is shipping char, trout, and rainbow trout for the first time since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The hatcheries were located within the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone, so the operation came to a screeching halt. The hatcheries were re-opened last August and cultivated 900,000 of the three main product species. Radioactivity tests have been run on them every month, and none has been detectible. Company president Eimitsu Yoshida said, “I want to fight against rumors and restore sales to their level before the earthquake. I also hope I can contribute to my hometown, Miyakoji.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=667
  • Tokyo says most of the remaining Minamisoma evacuation orders could be lifted July 1st. Two zones with a pre-evacuation population of nearly 11,000 are planned for re-opening unrestricted access. Only one other zone will continue restrictions. The Minamisoma assembly was apprised of Tokyo’s plans on May 13. Chief repopulation official Osamu Goto said the government “would like to [repopulate the two areas] in early July or mid-July, targeting as early as July first.” This would be the largest repopulation number, exceeding those in Naraha town, Kawauchi village and Tamura city’s Miyakoji district. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=670
  • Tokyo wants to begin deep burial of contaminated rural waste and debris later this year. The Environment Ministry proposes disposing of 730,000 tons of “specified” waste from the 2011 nuclear accident at a government-run facility in Tomioka town. The agency wants to begin packaging and transfer of the material from the myriad of temporary storage locations to the Fukushima Ecotech Clean Center later this year. The wastes will include ash from incineration of sewage sludge and other burnable debris, and solidified in cement before being shipped to Tomioka. Solidification will take place in Naraha town. If all goes well, the entire mass of material should be buried by March, 2023. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=669
  • Tokyo will set up a Fukushima worker’s health counselling station near F. Daiichi. There are typically about 6,000 contract employees involved with decontamination and decommissioning at the station. Contractors are responsible for the worker’s health and safety, but Tokyo has concerns about contract worker radiation exposure and possible heat stroke. So, the government will set up a free consultation desk near the plant in early July. The Health Ministry believes this will assure everyone that contract worker health is a priority at F. Daiichi. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160523_06/
  • Tepco received its June evacuee compensation payment from Tokyo. The amount paid by the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation for next month’s pay-outs is nearly 63 billion yen: a bit less than $60 million USD. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2016/1288543_7763.html  The total amount of compensation paid to Fukushima evacuees as of May 20th has been 6.16 trillion yen. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/comp/images/jisseki-e.pdf
  • JAIF posted an interview with Engineering Professor Shigekazu Suzuki of Fukushima College. Suzuki supervised displays shown by his students at an Iwaki City exhibition. Fukushima College was historically an all-women school, but has been co-educational since the turn of the century. The displays were shown by five women students. In the interview with JAIF, Suzuki talks about what has happened to the college since 2011; capitalizing on F. Daiichi decommissioning as an opportunity to learn, collaborating with the industrial world and local municipalities, and the future possibilities for his students. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/vol-3-special-interview-with-dr-shigekazu-suzuki/