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[en] A massive release of artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant caused radioactive contamination of farms as well as of aquatic products. Carp in small ponds in the highly radiocontaminated area of Iitate Village, Fukushima Prefecture, have been confined to the ponds since the accident, and it is thought that the carp may have suffered health issues as a result. Therefore, I investigated the health condition of the carp in order to elucidate the effects of radiation. Blood neutrophil, monocyte and lymphocyte counts in the carp from three ponds in Fukushima were lower than those in carp from a non-polluted pond in Tochigi Prefecture. Histological observations indicated abnormal hyperplasia of macrophages in the spleen, kidney, liver and pancreas of carp in Fukushima. Although there are likely to have been deleterious effects on carp health due to the radiation in Fukushima, this has not yet been confirmed because only one control pond was available for comparison, and I was not able to find any symptoms in the carp that correlated with internal cesium concentration. Further research is now being conducted to investigate the effects of radiation on carp
[en] Risk comparison is essential for effective societal and individual decision-making. After the Fukushima disaster, studies compared radiation and other disaster-related risks to determine the effective prioritizing of measures for response. Evaluating the value of risk comparison information can enable effective risk communication. In this review, the value of risk comparison after the Fukushima disaster for societal and individual decision-making is discussed while clarifying the concept of radiation risk assessment at low doses. The objectives of radiation risk assessment are explained within a regulatory science framework, including the historical adoption of the linear non-threshold theory. An example of risk comparison (i.e. radiation risk versus evacuation-related risk in nursing homes) is used to discuss the prioritization of pre-disaster measures. The effective communication of risk information by authorities is discussed with respect to group-based and face-to-face approaches. Furthermore, future perspectives regarding radiation risk comparisons are discussed.
[en] This commentary reviews the international radiation protection policy that resulted in the evacuation of more than 90,000 residents from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi NPS and the enormous expenditures to protect them against a hypothetical risk of cancer. The basis for the precautionary measures is shown to be invalid; the radiation level chosen for evacuation is not conservative. The actions caused unnecessary fear and suffering. An appropriate level for evacuation is recommended. Radical changes to the ICRP recommendations are long overdue. (author)
[en] The health threats of radiation-release incidents are diverse and long term. In addition to direct radiation effects, it is imperative to manage the indirect effects of radiation such as stigma, prejudice and broader mental health impacts. Six years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident of March 2011, bullying caused by stigma and prejudice toward evacuees, including children, has become a social problem in Japan. This phenomenon may be associated with the fact that knowledge about radiation has still not reached the general public, and to a potential lack of motivation among Japanese citizens to learn about radiation and bullying. Continuous and sustained education regarding radiation is warranted in order to enhance the general knowledge level about the effects of radiation in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, and this education will become an important reference for education after future nuclear disasters.
[en] This report analyses the data of air (ambient) dose rates measured at 164 points in eastern Fukushima during a period of half a year after 10 June 2011. It is found that at some locations the values decreased or increased extraordinarily although on average the overall dose rates decreased significantly faster than the theoretically predicted rate. Among them the nine most extreme points are selected and analysed. It is found that behind these extraordinary behaviours of air dose rates there exists the combination of wind/rain and artificial structures such as sloped pavements. (author)
[en] While seeking a remedy for the ongoing crisis of radiation fear in Japan and everywhere else, the author reread a recent article on radiation hormesis. It describes the political motivation for creating this fear and mentions the evidence, in the first UNSCEAR report, of a factor of 3 reduction in leukemia incidence of the Hiroshima a-bomb survivors in the low dose zone. Producing a graph of the tabulated data reveals that they fit a hormetic J-curve, not a straight line as reported. UNSCEAR data on the lifespan reduction of mice and Guinea pigs exposed continuously to radium gamma rays indicate a threshold at about 2 gray per year. This information contradicts the conceptual basis for radiation protection and risk determination that was established in 1956-58. In this paper, beneficial effects and thresholds for harmful effects are discussed, and the biological mechanism is explained. The key point is the discovery that the rate of spontaneous DNA damage (double-strand breaks) is more than 1000 times the rate caused by average background radiation. It is the effect of radiation on an organism's very powerful adaptive protection systems that determines the dose-response characteristic. Low radiation up-regulates adaptive protection systems, while high radiation impairs these systems. The remedy for radiation fear is to expose and discard the politicized science. (author)
[en] The Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred on 11 March 2011, which caused the leakage of radioactive materials into the environment. In this study, we report public concerns about radiation in Fukushima and Tokyo almost one year after the nuclear disaster. We examined the public concerns by analyzing the data from 1022 participants, 555 in Fukushima and 467 in Tokyo. They were asked whether they were concerned about radiation from some of six different types of sources, which could be answered in a binary way, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We found not only similarities, but also significant differences in the degrees of concerns between Fukushima residents and Tokyo ones. Fukushima residents more concerned about radiation from land, food and radon in larger rate than that of Tokyo ones, while Tokyo residents were concerned about radiation from medical care. Residents in neither location were concerned about radiation from space. Our results suggested that careful risk communication should be undertaken, adaptively organized depending on location and other factors, e.g. comprehension about radiation, presence of the experience of evacuation, and also age and gender of the people
[en] Fukushima residents’ negative views on the safety of water and air environments have been a concern since the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear power plant (FDNPP) accident. The objective of this study was to clarify the factors determining these negative views and their association with radiation risk perception using the opinion poll conducted by Fukushima Prefecture from 2010 to 2015. In a model, in which the objective variables were the views on the safety of water and air environments, and the explanatory variables were the regions constituting Fukushima and the age and sex of the residents, the odds ratio (OR) of the views on the safety of the water and air environments (reference region: the least affected region) was significantly low at 0.11 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.04–0.28] to 0.18 (0.07–0.46) in the Hamadori region including the evacuation order area, from the accident in 2011 to 2015, with the exception of 2014. In another model, in which the region was excluded from the explanatory variables and radiation risk perception, the distance from the FDNPP and the air dose rate were added to the previous model as an explanatory variable, the views on the safety of the water and air environments were strongly associated with low radiation risk perception (low anxiety) in 2012–2015 [OR: 7.73 (5.25–11.4) to 10.3 (6.71–15.8)], distance from FDNPP, and age, but not with air dose rate. This result suggests that the radiation risk perception, distance from FDNPP, and age were factors determining people’s views on the safety of the water and air environment.
[en] The PREPARE project that started in February 2013 and will end at the beginning of 2016 aims to close gaps that have been identified in nuclear and radiological preparedness in Europe following the first evaluation of the Fukushima disaster. Among others, the project will address the review of existing operational procedures for dealing with long-lasting releases and cross-border problems in radiation monitoring and food safety and further develop missing functionalities in decision support systems (DSS) ranging from improved source-term estimation and dispersion modelling to the inclusion of hydrological pathways for European water bodies. In addition, a so-called Analytical Platform will be developed exploring the scientific and operational means to improve information collection, information exchange and the evaluation of such types of disasters. The tools developed within the project will be partly integrated into the two DSS ARGOS and RODOS. (authors)