GAFA tax: Companies have received their tax notice

"Companies subject to this tax have received a tax notice for the payment of the 2020 installments," said Bruno Lemaire. Not to mention the possible wrath of the American authorities, the GAFA have already taken the lead. Here's how.   The negotiations on the digital tax at the OECD have come to naught. “We had suspended the collection of the tax until the OECD negotiations were concluded. This negotiation failed, so we will collect a tax on the digital giants next December, "explained Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the Economy, in mid-October. "Companies subject to this tax have received a tax notice for the payment of the 2020 installments," the Ministry of the Economy said today. Facebook and Amazon "are among the companies" which have been notified "in recent days", assures for its part the Financial Times. So after firing the first ones, what should the French authorities expect from now on? Has

Fukushima: difficult decontamination

After many years of intensive cleaning work, the agricultural and residential plains around Fukushima are starting to repopulate, while the forest areas will remain contaminated for quite some time.

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, following the 2011 tsunami, produced significant radioactive fallout over a large area of ​​Japanese territory. For 8 years, the teams have been busy cleaning part of it to ensure that people can return to safety and reside there again. Quantities of researchers support the decontamination work while measuring the radioactive dose rates and taking soil and sediment samples. The aim is to assess the consequences of these discharges on human health and the environment. A Franco-Japanese team has just published an article which synthesizes no less than 68 scientific studies on decontamination strategies and their effectiveness.
 
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant


The health risks of radioactivity depend on the duration of exposure and the activity of the radioactive elements: this can range from burns or nausea, to long-term effects, such as cancer. What radioactive elements are affected? "During the accident, it was mainly cesium and iodine that were found in the environment, explains Olivier Evrard, from the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences at CEA, who co-signed the publication . But the emitted iodine isotope - iodine 131 - has a period (the time after which half of the nuclei have disappeared) of only 8 days, so that today it is no longer measurable. This is not the case for the two isotopes of cesium which are also widespread in the vicinity of the power plant in equivalent quantities, cesium 134 and cesium 137: their periods are 2 years and 30 years respectively. "As radioactive decay follows an exponential law, it is conventionally said that after 10 periods, the radioelement has completely decreased - the radioactive nuclei have almost disappeared" specifies Olivier Evrard. Thus, we are at 5 periods for cesium 134, while cesium 137 will take 3 centuries to fully decrease. It is especially he who is annoying and which one seeks to remove.

Cesium 137 decontamination activities have hitherto been aimed at habitable areas (agricultural and residential). In the absence of equivalent experience - the area around Chernobyl is still closed -, the researchers based themselves on chemical considerations which link cesium to clays. However, the clay of the first five to ten centimeters of these soils contains a lot of clay which traps cesium. It suffices to strip the surface layer and store this waste for possible subsequent decontamination. The missing soil is replaced by crushed granite to allow the damaged lands to be re-cultivated. Twenty million tonnes of waste have been produced in less than 6 years. This waste, first stored along the rice fields, is now stored in the temporary storage sites of Futaba and Okuma.

This work paid off, since the residual radioactivity in decontaminated areas is today at the level of average natural radioactivity on French territory.

On the other hand, the authorities have not yet found a decontamination solution for the forest areas, although they cover 75% of the area affected by the radioactive fallout. "Access to the forest with machines is not easy because the surfaces are considerable and the terrain is uneven, so that many operations remain manual. In addition, there are also ecological constraints. The forest works with a very intense recycling of nutrients between the organic surface layers - the humus - and the trees. So if we remove this layer of humus, there is a risk of nutritional stress for the forest. An increased risk of erosion is also to be feared following intense precipitation during cyclones. Explains Yves Thiry, agronomist at the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management. The problem is that the cesium in it could in the future be redistributed following soil erosion, floods or typhoons. The watersheds, contaminated with cesium and located in forest areas, are of particular concern because they could also affect agricultural areas, decontaminated, downstream. A persistent problem that will require continuing to monitor radioactivity on site now that people are returning.