June 25, 2024

Nuclear Company to Compensate Evacuees in Japan

Masataka Shimizu, the company’s president, said individuals would receive about $9,000 and larger households would receive about $12,000. Only people who live within a radius of 19 miles of the damaged power plant, who were initially evacuated, will be eligible for the payments.

The government on Monday ordered the evacuation in the coming month of people in five additional communities that lie farther from the stricken power plant but received higher levels of radiation than elsewhere because of wind and rain patterns. Once residents of these communities have been certified by the government as also qualifying as victims of a nuclear disaster, the company will make the same payments to them, Mr. Shimizu said. Tokyo Electric Power Company officials had no immediate data on how many people might qualify from these communities.

The government said the company acted after a request from Banri Kaieda, the minister of economy, trade and industry. The utility’s full liability for the nuclear accident has not been established and will depend heavily on whether the government characterizes the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 as an exceptional event that could not have been readily anticipated.

No decision has been made on possible compensation to farmers and fishermen who may have lost their livelihoods at least temporarily because of the nuclear accident.

Repair efforts continued slowly at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. An announcement late Thursday of sharply rising temperatures at the base of Reactor No. 3 had provoked brief concern, but regulators said Friday morning that the readings appeared to have come from a malfunctioning thermometer.

In another development, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Japan had reported that 28 of the approximately 300 workers trying to stabilize the nuclear plant had received high radiation doses. The 28 workers have accumulated doses of more than 100 millisieverts, the agency said, though none have received a dose of more than 250 millisieverts.

Japan’s Health Ministry said on March 15 that it was raising the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts. That is five times the maximum exposure permitted for American nuclear plant workers.

In a sign of a return to normality on Friday, Tokyo Disneyland reopened with limited hours, after closing a month ago to conduct repairs and conserve electricity. Throngs of people showed up outside the amusement park’s gates before opening time, vying to be among the first to return.

The United States government, saying the situation at Fukushima Daiichi has become less perilous, lifted its travel warning for Tokyo and said it would allow dependents of government employees to return to Japan.

The travel alert issued by the State Department on Thursday said that although the situation at the nuclear plant “remains serious and dynamic,” the health risks in areas outside the 50-mile evacuation zone recommended by the American government “are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.” It said that even in the event of an unexpected disruption at the plant, harmful exposures to people beyond 50 miles were “highly unlikely.”

The State Department said the new policy was based on the assessment of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department and the unanimous opinion of American scientific experts in Japan. It came three days before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was scheduled to visit Japan in what is described as a show of support for the Japanese people.

The State Department had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents of government employees in Tokyo and some other areas on March 16 and had advised American citizens to defer nonessential travel to the Tokyo area and to northeastern Japan, where the nuclear plant is located.

In its new alert, the State Department said the situation at the plant “is dramatically different today than it was on March 16, when we saw significant ongoing releases of radioactivity, the loss of effective means to cool the reactor cores and spent fuel, the absence of outside power or fresh water supply for emergency management, and considerable uncertainty about the condition of the site.”

Now, it said, the efforts to cool the reactors and spent fuel were “ongoing and successful,” power and water were partly or fully restored and planning had begun to control radioactive contamination and mitigate future dangers.

Moshe Komata and Kantaro Suzuki contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=83533db7b77233819259fc38762cdf35

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