Fukushima health effects

March 5, 2012, 10:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima has been conducting a comprehensive study of the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011. The special committee was tasked with providing a clear and concise explanation of what happened during the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and offer recommendations based on lessons learned. A report from the special committee will be released at a press conference on Thursday, March 8, at 10AM EST. The press conference will be webcast at http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=85244, and the report will be available for download at http://fukushima.ans.org/.

The report will include a detailed analysis and assessment of radiological health effects resulting from the accident.

The HPS Panel: Robert Emery, John Boice, Robert Gayle, Howard Dickson, Kathryn Higley, Richard Vetter

Meanwhile, the Health Physics Society (HPS) on March 1 held a press conference addressing Fukushima radiological health effects. Major online media coverage of the HPS conference included the New York Times Green Blog, Sizing Up Health Impacts a Year After Fukushima, and the Wall Street Journal Japan Realtime,  Fukushima Health Impact: Minimal?

What have been the basic findings, so far, of the HPS radiation experts? As paraphrased in the New York Times article: "Health impacts from the radioactive materials released in the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns will probably be too small to be easily measured... And the area cordoned off by the Japanese government as uninhabitable is probably far too large."


Peter Caracappa, chief radiation officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, assisted the ANS Special Committee on Fukushima on radiological issues, and was interviewed in this very informative recent article in Scientific American: Japan's Post-Fukushima Earthquake Health Woes Go Beyond Radiation Effects.

Radiation monitoring continues in Japan, and long-term studies are underway.


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