Hiroshima announces results of soundness survey on A-bomb Dome

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On September 8, the City of Hiroshima announced the results of a soundness survey on the Atomic Bomb Dome, a World Heritage site located in downtown Hiroshima. Though more cracks were found in the walls and window frames of the A-bomb Dome than in the previous survey, the city has concluded that there is no tilting or sinkage that would require immediate repair work.

Soundness surveys have been conducted since fiscal 1992 and this inspection is the sixth one. The city checked five aspects of the A-bomb Dome between November 2008 and March 2009: 1) the appearance, 2) settlement, 3) vertical angle, 4) water penetration, and 5) other factors.

The total length of cracks in the bricks of the walls, with each crack more than 0.3 millimeters but less than 3.0 millimeters, is 26.7 meters. This figure is twice as long as the total length of cracks measured in the previous survey between 2005 and 2006. The amount of water penetration has also increased. But the Park Development Division of the City of Hiroshima explained: “The survey has found no serious deterioration that will affect the A-bomb Dome itself.” The city also verified that the roots of a nettle tree standing to the east of the dome do not have an adverse impact on the structure’s foundation.

On September 8, at the site, the City of Hiroshima offered its findings to members of the Advisory Committee on Preservation Techniques for the Historical Site of the A-bomb Dome, led by Kishiro Iida, professor emeritus at Nagoya University. The committee members responded with such views as “Replacing the deteriorated bricks should be considered” and “Scientific analysis should be conducted on sections that are noticeably covered with rust.”

The city has adopted a policy of allowing the deterioration of aging to a certain extent and, as far as possible, avoiding a large-scale repair project so that the present state of the A-bomb Dome can be maintained. In its preservation efforts for the A-bomb Dome, the city will take heed of the latest survey and the views of the committee members.

(Originally published on September 9, 2009)

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