Lessons from Fukushima: relocation and recovery from nuclear catastrophe
Bennett, Gerilee Wohlschlegel
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The Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown offers an unusual opportunity to examine and learn from Japan’s experience managing the forced, extended relocation of over 100,000 people. The objective of this study was to assess lessons the United States can incorporate into its disaster management plans from Japan’s experience managing the relocation of communities due to the widespread contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Four years after the catastrophe, Fukushima Prefecture estimates 119,000 residents are still living in temporary accommodations while remediation work continues in 11 municipalities. This comparative analysis of the Fukushima case approached the challenge of planning for recovery after a nuclear/radiological disaster from the perspective of managers with limited radiation management expertise. It examined the progress of recovery in the first four years and the management practices related to the relocation and resettlement of the most contaminated Fukushima communities. The primary recommendation is that states and communities require guidance and tools to use both to prepare for major radiological incidents and as post-incident job aids for managing disaster recovery. Leaders and planners will be able to apply the study’s detailed recommendations to enhance efforts to prepare for the intermediate and late-phase recovery from radiological disasters.
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