Analysis of the modalities of return of populations to the contaminated territories following the accident at the Fukushima power plant.


Radioprotection 2020, 8 June 2020, 14 pp.


Based on gathered viewpoints from Japanese stakeholders who face the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster at the national and local levels, the modalities and conditions governing the decision of evacuees to return home after the lifting of evacuation orders, have been examined. This analysis revealed the complexity of the situation in a context of high uncertainty, and also emphasized the need for decision-makers and decision-helpers (e.g. radiological protection and medical experts) to take account and respect the different choices made or envisaged by the impacted communities for whom radiological issues are only one facet of the problem. The analysis firstly deals with the dynamics of the emergency evacuation which has strongly influenced the issue of managing the return of populations. Social and especially family dimensions are also emphasized, particularly related to the organization of temporary housing. Then, the organization and the evolution of the characterization and zoning of the affected areas are discussed as well as the radiological criteria that have been used and how they have been perceived by people. Notably, the effects on health and welfare are emphasized, by analysing in particular the temporal dynamics since the accident. The difficulties encountered by evacuees and returnees and the specific situations of the various communities are also highlighted. The question of the development of a radiological protection culture through self-monitoring and protective actions and its long-term role is also discussed. Another key element concerns the effects of the compensation system: without going into details on the mechanisms put in place, the social and ethical questions raised by this system are presented. Finally, the question of “the future of the affected territories” is evoked by stressing the concerns of several municipalities for restoring their attractiveness for possible newcomers.


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