“Plans also call for attracting pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies to Fukushima in line with research on the effects of radiation and development of advanced medical treatment methods.”
Minister wants radiation-related researchers in Fukushima February 06, 2012
With the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant sending residents and companies fleeing from the prefecture, the state minister in charge of the accident wants to use the research opportunity it afforded to lure companies and jobs back.
Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of the nuclear disaster, presented a proposal on Feb. 4 to set up research institutes in Fukushima Prefecture to stimulate economic activity.
The research institutes would cover such areas as decontaminating areas hit by radiation fallout as well as decommissioning the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The central government is considering special tax incentives to lure companies in such fields to Fukushima to stem the outflow of residents and companies after the nuclear accident.
Hosono explained his proposal at a meeting in Fukushima city discussing ways to rebuild and resuscitate the prefecture.
Under the proposal, five research institutes would be set up in various parts of the prefecture. The institutes would handle research and development in decommissioning reactors; decontamination and radiation monitoring; radiation medicine; renewable energy sources; and the medical care, social welfare equipment and pharmaceutical industries.
“We want to present a more specific picture of what kind of research institute can be moved to Fukushima after holding further discussions with the local communities,” Hoshino told reporters after the meeting on Feb. 4. He added that those discussions would also cover specific locations for the institutes.
One plan is to set up a new research facility for the National Institute for Environmental Studies, based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, which is doing research on decontamination methods.
Under the proposal, the new research facility would study ways of reducing radiation levels in a short period of time as well as effectively reducing the volume of contaminated soil. Once those methods are established, construction companies would be encouraged to move their facilities to Fukushima.
Another plan being considered is to build a facility for an independent administrative agency handling the spread of renewable energy sources.
The research institute to look into decommissioning nuclear reactors would also have an important role to play because government estimates have set a maximum time frame of 40 years to complete the process. The institute would look into the best ways to dismantle the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Plans also call for attracting pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies to Fukushima in line with research on the effects of radiation and development of advanced medical treatment methods.
The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is considering submitting legislation to the current Diet session that would expand tax incentives to companies if they agree to move facilities to Fukushima. Those incentives would go beyond those to be applied to the areas devastated by last March’s Great East Japan Earthquake.