Fukushima, Japan — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 28 June 2011 – Angry parents of children in Japan’s Fukushima city are demanding protection from radiation for their children more than three months after a massive quake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.
“We want our lives back, we want to live like before the quake in happy families,” said Hiroko Sato who marched in heavy rain with her nephews, age 3 and 7, next to banners saying “No Nukes” and “One Fukushima is Enough.”
Three reactors went into meltdown after the earthquake hit the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan on March 11, forcing 80,000 residents to evacuate from its vicinity as engineers battled radiation leaks, hydrogen explosions and overheating fuel rods.
The parents have felt emboldened since May, when mass protests led to the government lowering the limit for radiation exposure for children at schools, and to offering money for schools to remove topsoil in playgrounds with too much radiation.
But the protesters, who included activists and members of groups from Tokyo, said the government had not done enough.
Many areas around Fukushima are exposed to around 13 or more millisieverts of radiation a year “’ about 6.5 times natural background radiation levels, a city survey showed. According to the survey, as many as 182 places showed readings close to or above the official annual exposure limit of 20 millisieverts per year.
Local governments now need to provide reports of radiation, while most schools in Fukushima are equipped with dosimeters and teachers have to record hourly radiation readings to help create a contamination map.
The Fukushima disaster has triggered worries over the safety of other nuclear power plants in Japan.
Reactors at the Genkai plant had been considered among the likeliest candidates for the first idled reactors in Japan to restart after the Fukushima disaster as electricity shortages loom for the summer, but residents remained worried.