Conditions for return of people since the lifting of evacuation orders in the territories affected by the Fukushima accident


4th NERIS Workshop - Dublin, April 27 2018

Summary ou Abstract

In the aftermath of both the Chernobyl and the Fukushima accidents, the post-accident management of the situations highlighted the crucial role of involving the population with the support of national and local authorities and experts, in order to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of protective actions implemented in the contaminated territories. In Japan in particular, the process of lifting the evacuation orders shows that it is of utmost importance to take into account concerns and worries of the inhabitants of the affected territories and to involve them in the rehabilitation processes, to increase their efficiency.

Since 2013, CEPN and IRSN have met and gathered viewpoints from numerous Japanese stakeholders who face the consequences of the Fukushima accident at the national and local levels. In particular, the modalities and conditions governing the decision of evacuees to return home - or not to return - after the lifting of evacuation orders, have been examined. This has raised a number of new issues in the context of post-accident management. The feedback 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 into account and respect the different choices made or envisaged by the affected people and communities for whom radiological issues are only one aspect of the problem they are facing to.

The lessons to be presented firstly deal with the dynamics of the emergency evacuation which has strongly influenced the issue of managing the return of populations. Social and especially family dimensions will also be emphasized, particularly related to the organization of temporary housing. Then, lessons will discuss the organization and the evolution of the characterization and zoning of the affected areas, the radiological criteria that have been used and how they have been perceived by people as well as the effects on health and welfare, by analysing in particular the temporal dynamics during the six years since the accident of March 11, 2011. The difficulties encountered by evacuees and returnees and the specific situations of the various communities will be highlighted. The question of the development of a radiological protection culture through self- monitoring and protective actions and its long-term role will also be discussed. Another key element concerns the effects of the compensation system: without going into detail on the mechanisms put in place, the social and ethical questions raised by this system will be presented. Another highlight will concern the involvement of a multitude of actors in the rehabilitation processes by supporting evacuees and returnees, with a focus on the difficulties for coordinating all these different stakeholders. Finally, the question of ‘the future’ will be evoked by stressing the concerns of several municipalities for restoring the attractiveness of the territory for new inhabitants.


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