As many as 1,000 dead bodies remain unmoved within a 20-kilometer radius from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, as fears of radiation leakage has prevented authorities from collecting and burying them, according to Japanese police officials.
Reportedly, the corpses (which have lain for more than two weeks now) have been ‘‘exposed to high levels of radiation after death,” amidst reports of high radiation levels detected as far as 40 kilometers from the stricken plant.
Japanese authorities are mulling options on how to collect and retrieve the dead bodies; given that police, doctors and family members would all be exposed to elevated levels of radiation should they come near the radiated victims.
Even if the bodies are somehow retrieved, cremating them might spread radioactive plumes into the air, and burying them would likely contaminate the soil, according to media reports.
Decontaminating the bodies would also be a time-consuming affair.
‘‘Measures that can be taken vary depending on the level of radiation, so there need to be professionals who can control radiation,’’ said a radiation expert according to Japanese media. ‘‘One option is to take decontamination vehicles there and decontaminate the bodies one by one.’‘
Local residents who lived within 20 kilometers of the power plant have been evacuated, while those who live between 20 and 30 kilometers have been advised to stay indoors.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, among other nuclear groups, has implored the Japanese government to widen the mandatory evacuation zone.