Private decontamination companies overcharging, say Fukushima homeowners

10/20/2011
By

TOKYO (majirox news) — Complaints have begun to roll in that some private decontamination contractors are overcharging homeowners in Fukushima prefecture, where decontamination work is in full swing.

One unidentified homeowner filed a complaint that he was charged 1 million yen, (about $13,000) from a private company to clean up the radioactive material from his house. Recently, other claims have been filed as well, according to the Fukushima Department of Decontamination.

“If we calculated the cost of decontamination the same way we calculate cleaning houses, which is 200,000 yen ($2,605) to 300,000 yen ($3,908) per house, that would be the standard rate,” said the management company of a Minamisoma city building in Fukushima prefecture.

Some residents have chosen to hire private companies to decontaminate their homes because they do not want to wait for the authorities to do it.

The local government plans to decontaminate specific areas one at a time, which means it may be a long time before all houses are decontaminated. The first decontamination of homes begun Oct. 18. in the city of Fukushima where authorities say they plan to clean around 110,000 houses as well as streets and public buildings.

According to homeowners, if standard guidelines are not provided to regulate work and prices, there will likely to be more problems in the future. Additionally, many say the decontamination effort should have begun earlier.

There’s also the question of price. For example, since decontamination is planned for the entire city of Fukushima, who will pay for it: The central government, the local government or the Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO)? Fukushima City is is home to about 300,000 residents and is located 60 km (37 miles) northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Then there’s the problem of where to store the contaminated soil and sludge containing material such as cesium after it is removed.

This is just one of the many problems facing the country in the aftermath of the radioactive contamination from the Fukushima plant, which still continues to spew radiation.

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