Experts agree on repair methods for A-bomb Dome

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On September 13, the City of Hiroshima held a meeting of the “Advisory Committee on Techniques for Preservation of the Atomic Bomb Dome” at City Hall. The committee members discussed repairs of the A-bomb Dome, a World Heritage site in Naka Ward. The experts agreed on the city’s proposed repair methods, including the idea of painting the steel rods that have remained since the dome was constructed after the rust on them has been chemically treated. The city will begin such efforts within this fiscal year while consulting with the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Taking part in the meeting were ten members, including professors, from the 12-member committee. They agreed to adopt a relatively new method whereby the rust on the steel rods that cannot be removed will be chemically treated before painting. This is expected to protect the rods for 20 to 30 years, the longest results to date. One member said that the steel rods as old as the ones for the dome should be tested for the new method in advance.

The committee members also discussed repair methods for the brick joints on the walls and the deteriorating window pillars from the viewpoint of their weight to the dome, their durability, and their impact on the dome’s exterior. They concluded that the repairs would be undertaken as the city has proposed.

From time to time the City of Hiroshima carries out major repairs and seismic reinforcements of the A-bomb Dome, though such repairs have not been performed since fiscal year 2015. It also plans to set up scaffolding and pursue a soundness survey roughly once every three years. The current round of repairs will be completed in four to five months.

Masayuki Miura, a professor emeritus of Hiroshima University and an expert on the history of architecture, is serving as the chair of the committee. He said he hopes that, by addressing the deterioration, the dome can be preserved as long as possible in the state that it was in the aftermath of the atomic bombing.

(Originally published on September 14, 2018)