Fukushima health effects

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.


2 thoughts on “Fukushima health effects

  1. James Greenidge

    The Japanese government should (have) just let Fukushima residents sign a wavier of responsibility and let them return home. Their government (and Greenpeace) would be plenty surprised at all the non-skittish takers Japan would get around the world if they released that “condemned contaminated” area up for free homesteading.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. idyl

    It will be interesting to see what data sets they use for estimating radiation exposure levels in Fukushima: 8,200 terabecquerels of Cs-173 by NISA (which is a nuclear energy watchdog group in Japan), or 35,800 terabecquerels (by other outside agencies). The official estimates from TEPCO and the Japanese Government have already been revised twice. Typically, in science, one wants to be able to independently verify results and measurements. So far, they have not been able to do so in Fukushima.


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