Tokyo — Construction workers stole and sold potentially radioactive scrap metal from near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Japanese environment ministry said on Thursday. The materials went missing from a museum being demolished in a special zone around 2.5 miles from the atomic plant in northeast Japan that was knocked out by a tsunami in 2011.
Although people were allowed to return to the area in 2022 after intense decontamination work, radiation levels can still be above normal and the Fukushima plant is surrounded by a no-go zone.
Japan’s environment ministry was informed of the theft by workers from a joint venture conducting the demolition work in late July and is “exchanging information with police,” ministry official Kei Osada told AFP.
Osada said the metal may have been used in the frame of the building, “which means that it’s unlikely that these metals were exposed to high levels of radiation when the nuclear accident occurred.”