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ISTC and STCU conduct the Technical Review Committee Meeting on the Environmental Assessment for Long Term Monitoring and Remediation in and around Fukushima, Japan, April 14-17 2014

The ISTC together with the Science and Technology Center of Ukraine (STCU) underneath the joint Fukushima Initiative conducted a Technical Review Committee meeting on the “Environmental Assessment for Long Term Monitoring and Remediation in and around Fukushima” from April 14-17, 2014 in Japan with the support and patronage of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) alongside the European Union and United States Department of Energy. Participants at the event included: Project Managers and select technical staff, Technical Collaborators assigned to monitor the projects, local technical experts involved in remediation and monitoring of the Fukushima site, funding parties’ representatives for Japan and the United States, IAEA, and staff members from the ISTC and STCU. 

On April 14, field sites in which the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF), and Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) are involved in technical remediation and monitoring activities were briefly visited in the Fukushima exclusion area to provide unique perspective. Specifically, the delegation visited the Agricultural Radiation Research Center associated with Tohoku Agriculture Research Center of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) to understand specific priorities related to recapturing agriculture production lost in the region due to real and future contamination concerns associated with the accident. This briefing was followed by field surveys at selected regional locations in which relevant scientific work is being conducted for assessing the longer-term impact of contamination as well as possible best methods for rehabilitation were being considered, both urban and rural. At the conclusion of these technical site visits, the delegation returned to Tokyo for the Technical Review Meeting that began the next day at the Tokyo offices of MEXT. 

The Review Meeting began with opening greetings from Mr. Atsushi Arakawa (Director for International Cooperation and International Science and Technology Affairs Division) of MEXT, closely followed by comments from Fukushima Initiative sponsors from the US Department of Energy, ISTC, and STCU. The morning meeting quickly moved into Japanese government technical briefings that provided an overview on the current status of remediation and monitoring activities in the Fukushima region. This session was immediately followed by a moderated discussion designed to assist the project leaders identify and capture essential scientific elements relevant to Fukushima in view of their upcoming project presentations and for future targeting of areas of particular relevance and applicability to Japan moving forward with the projects. Over the course of the meeting six ISTC/STCU projects were reviewed in detail. Each project representative provided a detailed technical presentation on the current progress of their project and their research team’s views toward application with the effected Fukushima area. Presentations were immediately accompanied by a moderated question and answer session with the Technical Review Committee helping to highlight possible ambiguities in the research that should be considered to better insure that the projects directly correspond to Japanese needs. 

The Meeting concluded with a morning session on April 17 in which the project representatives responded to the previous sessions with considerations and adjustments that they would be looking to make to their project activities to address identified issues and enhance the possibility of obtaining results that can be utilized in Japan’s continuing remediation and monitoring efforts. Overall the results were well received and substantial effort was placed into insuring projects direction was directly applicable to on the ground needs. 

Work on the six projects is expected to continue over the course of the next year with conclusion of research activities expected by the second half of 2015.

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