Some of the cesium from the nuclear power plant in Japan has escaped from the plant, I am not going to pretend that this is not good news. I would be insulting your intelligence if I was to claim that radioactive cesium was a good thing.
One of my concerns is what will happen to the farming community, I am aware that the Japanese government have imposed bans on the sale of some foods which have been grown in some parts of Japan. I feel sorry for the farmer who can not sell his/her crop, while farmers do not farm for the pure joy of it I imagine most farmers would feel sad if they were told to destroy their crop or hand it in for disposal even if they were being compensated.
I think that it is too early in the accident to have a decent map of cesium contamination, one of the actions towards recovery will be the creation of a detailed map of cesium (and other radioactive) contamination. This would be a map of the total amount of the Cs-137 in Bq per square meter.
The cesium maps will help society recover. The people who live and work in the 30 km evacuation zone will not want to stay away from their homes, schools and livelihoods for ever.
I hold the view that a contamination map will allow society to make good choices.
I hold a view that the land in the 30 km zone should be sorted into four types of area.
1. Areas in which contamination is so low that the land can be used for its original purpose without any remedial action.
2. Areas of land where easy, cheap and minor remedial actions will allow the land to be reused for its normal purpose.
3. Areas of land where difficult, expensive and major remedial actions will allow the land to be reused for its normal purpose.
4. Areas of land where it is impossible to clean up the land to the point at which it can be used for its original purpose.
When land falls into classes 3 and 4 then I hold the view that a change of use of the land should be considered. If the contamination level on land is too high to allow the normal food crop to be grown then sometimes an alternative food or non-food crop can be grown. While a farmer might not be overjoyed about not being able to grow the crop his father and grandfather grew on the land, I think that being able to grow an alternative crop will make a farmer’s life better than paying him to sit on his backside and not grow anything.
Where the land falls into classes 2 and 3 then I see a need for action to be taken. I will tell you soon about some of the steps which can help reduce the effects of the accident.