Efforts underway to repair cracks in pillars and remove rust from steel braces in A-bomb Dome

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On January 27, the Hiroshima City government opened up to the media the site of preservation work taking place in the Atomic Bomb Dome, a UN World Heritage site, located in the city’s Naka Ward. This is the fifth preservation work project on the structure, with the first taking place in 1967.

The most recent preservation work began in September last year. Steel beams in the upper part of the dome have already been painted dark brown. In the second preservation project, in 1989, the steel beams were painted in a pink tone. This time, however, the city government chose dark brown, based on an assessment of the color at the time of the atomic bombing from a color photograph taken by the U.S. military immediately after the bombing. The city government plans to use the same color to repaint the steel braces of a spiral staircase inside the structure. Workers are now in the process of removing rust from the steel braces.

The workers are also repairing cracks in window pillars by injecting inorganic cement material into the cracks to prevent their expansion and further damage. The inorganic substance is a relatively newly developed material said to leave fewer traces of repair than the resin-based materials used in past preservation work.

The city government is scheduled to complete the preservation work by the end of March this year, including removal of scaffolding. Shinji Takahashi, 61, a project manager at the Hiroshima branch of the Shimizu Corporation (Tokyo), the company to which the preservation work was outsourced by the city government, said, “As we have proceeded with the work, we got a real sense of how the A-bomb Dome was once visited by many citizens in the past. We want to continue taking great care of the structure until the project is completed.”

(Originally published on January 28, 2021)