Radiation brings fear, and kids let it all out

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Kids say the cruellest things: A girl bullied at school with the taunt ‘You’ve got the radiation!’ (right) sits at her home in Chiba Prefecture, where she moved after fleeing Fukushima Prefecture in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster

Radiation is a fearful thing. Colorless, odorless, undetectable except by special instruments, it’s one of those evils you can dismiss from your mind altogether, until the special instruments start registering. Then suddenly it’s everywhere, or seems to be — a ubiquitous and ineradicable contaminant.

Children, as we all know, say and do the damnedest things. They mean no harm, they just know not what they do, sometimes. Their innocence is terrifying. Sometimes innocence looks anything but innocent. But all societies recognize it.

Children are not legally responsible for their actions. Parents and teachers may punish them in order to teach them responsibility. But it’s a long process. Until it’s complete, the evil they do, when they do evil, gets filed under “mischief,” in recognition of the spirit in which it was — probably — committed.

When Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant cracked under the strain of a tsunami six years ago and irradiated large swaths of Fukushima Prefecture, refugees streamed out of the stricken area, settling where they could. Forty thousand of them remain out-of-prefecture, 5,100 in Tokyo. Most of them will never go home again. Will they ever be at home where they are?

Josei Seven magazine raises the issue of “nuclear bullying.” Children too young, one might think, to even know the word “radiation” picked it up under the circumstances, and flung it with what seems like gleeful malice at disoriented new classmates who had enough to cope with already. Six years on, says Josei Seven, they’re still flinging it.

It started immediately,” says one refugee, recalling her son’s transfer to a Tokyo elementary school in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. “‘Fukushima kids are weird,’ they’d shout at him. Kids would crawl under his desk and jab his feet with pencils. In the mornings he began saying he wasn’t feeling well. At the time, frankly, I was too traumatized myself to take much notice.”

Lawyer Yukio Yamakawa, director-general of the Tokyo Disaster Support Network, takes up the story with an account of other children he’s spoken to. What starts with name-calling (“Hey, Radioactive!” “Hey, Bacteria!”) easily escalates into what’s hard not to call torture. One kid is forced to drink a bottle of ink. Another has his shoes tossed into the toilet. A third is met in the corridor by classmates poised as if brandishing guns: “Radiation! Bang! Bang!” A fourth suffers extortion of what adds up over time to ¥1.5 million: “You can afford it, your family gets (disaster victim) compensation payments!”

Yamakawa reports this taunt making the rounds: “Fukushima kids won’t live past junior high school anyway, so you may as well die now.”

Tanaka-san,” as we’ll call the mother cited above, began to fear her son might commit suicide. A poem he wrote contained the line, “Oh, to be able to go to heaven.” Fully focused now, she transferred the boy to another school. The peace that followed was short-lived. Name-calling, exclusion — it started all over again. The homeroom teacher was well-intentioned and put a stop to it — what she could see of it. What went on behind her back was beyond her control. A lot did, its viciousness increasing.

I’d been bullied myself as a child,” Tanaka says, incidentally reminding us that the problem is neither new nor necessarily nuclear-related. “I understood what he was going through.”

She transferred him again. That seems to have ended the ugliest persecution, but, once a victim, you don’t simply get over it. The boy as a small child had dreamed of being a botanist when he grew up. Now he simply says, “I have no dreams.” Fukushima No. 1 destroyed much that is quantifiable — lives, property, livelihoods — and much that isn’t.

What to make of little kids who inflict this torment on other little kids? Can innocence itself be evil? Or fictitious? One hypothesis Josei Seven raises is that children merely absorb what they hear from their parents. Lacking critical faculties and adult inhibitions, they act where grown-ups merely talk.

The energy and imagination they put into it make it hard not to suspect they enjoy it. Enjoyment of other people’s sufferings is a well-attested human trait, exploited for mass entertainment at least as far back as the Roman circuses. Nothing has happened since to root it out of us, and if radiation stimulates it today, in that respect at least it breaks no new ground.

Naked fear is a factor too. Radiation, unseen, unheard, is the most fearful of stalkers. Might school kids seriously believe their Fukushima classmates are contagious? If so, the rational response would be to stay away from them, but fear and hatred merge, short-circuiting rationality and generating “Radiation, bang, bang!”

Radiation today, tuberculosis a century ago, different causes producing similar effects. Novelist Ayako Miura (1922-1999), herself a sufferer, made what might be called “tuberculosis bullying” a sub-theme of her novel “Shiokari Toge” (Shiokari Pass), set in late-19th-century Hokkaido: “It was an age when sufferers of tuberculosis were so hated and feared that they were even forced to leave the neighborhood.” A character who innocently brings up the subject arouses horror in his listener: “Mr. Nagano, even if you only mention the name of that dreadful disease it makes your lungs rot!”

Radiation, bang, bang!” Last July a 26-year-old man slipped into a facility for disabled patients in Kanagawa Prefecture and slaughtered 19 of them, his apparent intention being to free the world from the scourge of disability. Disability, bang, bang. In February Satoshi Uematsu was declared fit to stand trial. A psychiatric evaluation found in him symptoms of a personality disorder but not of incapacity to distinguish right from wrong.

The disorder in question, writes psychiatrist Rika Kayama in the weekly Spa!, amounts to an extreme form of self-love. “Of course,” she writes, “we all love ourselves; we all at one time or another fantasize about being king or queen of the world …” We’d all, in short, be insane, more or less, if we let our fantasies rule our actions. Most of us know when to stop.

Uematsu’s self-love, Kayama hypothesizes, took the form of a conviction of having a mission, a destiny to fulfill. Maybe we all have that too, to some degree. Adults usually stifle it. Children often don’t.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/25/national/media-national/radiation-brings-fear-kids-let/?utm_source=Daily+News+Updates&utm_campaign=10c9bd6edc-Sunday_email_updates26_03_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c5a6080d40-10c9bd6edc-332835557#.WNbGPRjMx2Y

SYMPOSIUM: Locals, experts discuss radiation risks, solutions, future in Iitate

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FUKUSHIMA–Even after six years, lingering concerns over radiation loom large over the lives of evacuees from a village in northeastern Tohoku ravaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster in 2011.

Residents have agonized over whether to return to their homes in the village of Iitate, one of the most heavily contaminated areas, since evacuation orders are to be lifted on March 31.

Masanobu Akaishizawa, 67, head of an administrative district of Iitate, expressed his concerns at a recent symposium held here in mid-February.

Experts say radiation doses don’t affect us as long as we stay home,” he said. “But I wonder about the quality of my life if I can neither go to the mountains nor the river.”

Iitate was in the direct path of radioactive materials that spewed from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., following the triple meltdown due to the earthquake, tsunami as well as the government and TEPCO’s shortcomings on March 11, 2011.

Ahead of the lifting of the evacuation order for most of the village of Iitate on March 31, researchers and journalists, who have conducted field surveys since immediately after the accident, shared their views on radiation effects on health and avoiding health risks with villagers at the symposium.

The symposium, titled “Think about the future of Iitate villagers,” was hosted by the Iitate-mura Society for Radioecology, which comprises academics and citizens who committed themselves to continue their support for residents through their expertise.

During the session, Tetsuji Imanaka, a researcher at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, estimated the annual average radiation exposure to residents if they immediately return to the area after the evacuation orders are lifted. He put the figure at approximately 5 millisieverts of radiation.

How can residents come to terms with the health risks caused by radiation exposure? That’s the issue,” Imanaka said.

Katsumi Furitsu, a doctor at the Hyogo College of Medicine, highlighted the government’s responsibility.

Furitsu has conducted research in the areas devastated by the crippled Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986.

Low-dose radiation exposure also has health risks in accordance with the amount,” Furitsu said.

Offering appropriate health management and medical benefits (for the disaster victims who have been exposed to radiation) is the government’s minimum responsibility just like it issued ‘hibakusha’ (A-bomb victims) health books in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Furitsu emphasized.

Hibakusha health books have been awarded to those certified by the government as radiation victims of the 1945 atomic bombings, making them eligible for special health-care benefits, including allowing them access to free medical assistance.

Such a book could also become a powerful weapon to force the government to take responsibility for Fukushima evacuees for future damage to their health potentially related to radiation exposure.

Villagers expressed, however, concern that this could lead to possible future discrimination.

We understand the necessity of issuing the radiation exposure record books to protect victim’s health,” said one resident. “But high school girls have fears and worries about possible future discrimination that is likely to be caused by possessing the books by posing such questions as, “Can we get married?” or “Can we have children?”

In response to those poignant voices from the disaster victims, Furitsu said, “In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the same concerns were expressed. However, unjustified discrimination occurred not because of the health book, but because those who should take responsibility didn’t take it.”

The government should take measures that help residents who had been burdened with unnecessary risks,” Furitsu said, referring to such matters as providing health management, medical benefits, education and other activities to raise awareness of discrimination against disaster victims, especially if they have been exposed to low-dose radiation.

Yoshinobu Ito, 73, a farmer who moved to Iitate before the disaster, was especially worried about the risk radiation could have on children when they return to the village.

He released the results of measurements of radiation levels around his house that he has taken since the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Although the levels of radiation dose have dropped, they are still 10 times higher than the figures before the disaster. Even if I return to Iitate, rebuilding agriculture is a hardship,” said Ito.

The effects of radiation also cast a shadow over Japanese cattle farmers such as Kiyomi Shigihara, 62, of Nagadoro in the southernmost section of Iitate. Nagadoro was designated as the only “difficult-to-return zone” in the village.

With regard to the government policy of decontaminating only reconstruction base areas and then lifting an evacuation order after five years, Shigihara said, “Under these circumstances, even if I return home, there’s nothing I can do.”

Unable to repress his emotions, Shigihara wiped tears from his eyes.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703250003.html

The Nihonmatsu Declaration on the Risks of Exposure to Low Doses of Ionising Radiation

A statement by participants to the 6th Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on Radiation Protection 7–10 October 2016in Nihonmatsu, Japan

Over recent years, some interested parties have claimed that human exposure to low doses100 mSv/mGy or lessof ionising radiation does not confer an increased risk of cancer, or that the risk is so small that it cannot be estimated.

Our understanding of the risks of ionising radiation leads us to conclude that:

The accrued epidemiological data do not support there being a threshold of risk at 100 mSv for the induction of cancer. [1-11] [12-14]. Most of the available evidence together with mechanistic considerations, point to linearity of dose response at both high and low dose-rates.

Direct measurement of risk below 100 mSv [1-5, 7, 9] and extrapolation from higher doses [3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 15], support the use of the linear dose response model for doses less than 100 mSv and for the estimation of risks for the protection of public health after nuclear accidents.[3]

The INWORKS study of workers is particularly important because the mode of exposure is similar to that which will be experienced by returning evacuees. It provides important information in re- lation to the risks in the dose range 0 to 100 mGy. Over this range the risk0.8 per Gyis higher, but not significantly so, than the overall estimate of 0.48 per Gy.This estimate is not influenced by the slope at higher doses.The paper states: “INWORKS thus provides supportive evidence for a positive association between radiation dose and all cancer other than leukaemia, even if less precise when analyses are restricted to data for the 0-100 mGy dose range.”

This position is consistent with:

The 2000 report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Ionising Radiation [16] [17]UNSCEAR, subsequently endorsed in their 2012 White Paper [18] and the 2012 analysis of the 2006 BEIR VII report from the US National Academy of Sciences [6] the Japanese bomb survivor data .

The World Health Organisation report of 2013 [19] on the Fukushima accident.

We conclude that a recommended “reference level” of 20 mSv/year for returning evacuees from areas adjacent to the Fukushima Daiichi accident will entail an increased lifetime risk of cancer, par- ticularly for those exposed as children.

Signatories

Keith Baverstock, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Fin- land, Kuopio, Finland.

Iuliia Davydova, Institute of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National Academy of Medical Science of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine.

John Mathews, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Carlton,Australia Sebastian Pflugbeil, Society for Radiation Protection, Berlin, Germany

Ben Spycher, Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineISPM, University of Bern, Bern, Switzer- land.

Wolfgang Hoffmann, Institute für Community Medicine, Urnst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität, Greifswald, Germany

 

References

1Spycher, B. D., et al.,2015Background ionizing radiation and the risk of childhood cancer: a census- based nationwide cohort study. Environ Health Perspect. 123: 622-8.

2Mathews, J. D., et al., 2013Cancer risk in 680,000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians. Bmj. 346: f2360.

3Richardson, D. B., et al.,2015Risk of cancer from occupational exposure to ionising radiation: retro- spective cohort study of workers in France, the United Kingdom, and the United StatesINWORKS. Bmj. 351: h5359.

4Kendall, G. M., et al., 2013A record-based case-control study of natural background radiation and the incidence of childhood leukaemia and other cancers in Great Britain during 1980-2006. Leukemia. 27: 3-9.

5Cardis, E., et al., 2005Risk of cancer after low doses of ionising radiation: retrospective cohort study in 15 countries. Bmj. 331:77.

6Ozasa, K., et al.,2012Studies of the mortality of atomic bomb survivors, Report 14, 1950-2003: an overview of cancer and noncancer diseases. Radiat Res. 177: 229-43.

7Pijpe, A., et al.,2012Exposure to diagnostic radiation and risk of breast cancer among carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations: retrospective cohort studyGENE-RAD-RISK. Bmj. 345: e5660.

8Pearce, M. S., et al., 2012Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood and subsequent risk of leu- kaemia and brain tumours: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 380: 499-505.

9Bithell, J. F. and A. M. Stewart,1975Pre-natal irradiation and childhood malignancy: a review of British data from the Oxford Survey. Br J Cancer. 31: 271-87.

10Preston, D. L., et al., 2003Studies of mortality of atomic bomb survivors. Report 13: Solid cancer and noncancer disease mortality: 1950-1997. Radiat Res. 160: 381-407.

11Preston, D. L., et al.,2007Solid cancer incidence in atomic bomb survivors: 1958-1998. Radiat Res. 168: 1-64.

12Brenner, D. J., et al., 2003Cancer risks attributable to low doses of ionizing radiation: assessing what we really know. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 100: 13761-6.

13Brenner, D. J. and R. K. Sachs,2006Estimating radiation-induced cancer risks at very low doses: ratio- nale for using a linear no-threshold approach. Radiat Environ Biophys. 44: 253-6.

14Goodhead, d.T. Clustered damage to DNA:Time to re-evaluate the paradigm of radiation protection. in Proceedings of the Eleventh International Congress of Radiation Research. 2000. Dublin Ireland:Al- len Press, Lawrence, KS.

15Preston, D. L., et al., 2003Dose response and temporal patterns of radiation-associated solid cancer risks. Health Phys. 85: 43-6.

16UNSCEAR, Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiations: Sources and Effects. 2000, United Nations: New York.

17UNSCEAR, Biological Mechanism of Radiation Action at Low Doses:A white paper to guide the Sci- entific Committee’s future programme of work. 2012, United nations: New York.

18NAS, Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. 2006, Na- tional Academy of Sciences:Washington.

19WHO, Health Risk Assessment from the Nuclear Accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earth- quake and Tsunami. 2013,World Health Organization: Geneva.

 

https://www.iwanami.co.jp/kagaku/eKagaku_201703_CSRP.pdf

The 6th Citizen-Scientists International Symposium on Radiation Protection

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Founded in 2011, The Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on Radiation Protection CSRP, is a non-profit organization established by citizens and scientists concerned about the issue of low dose exposure. Since the explosion at Fukushima’s nuclear plant in March 2011, CSRP has held several workshops each year, as well as an annual international symposium, on radiation protection from the viewpoint of citizens, inviting researchers and citizens from both Japan and overseas to find the most effective ways to deal with the issue together. The 6th CSRP symposium was held in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, between October 7 and 10, 2016for full details of the symposium, please refer to our website http://csrp.jp. The symposium published two recommendations ̶ the “Conclusions” and the “Nihonmatsu Declaration on the Risks of Exposure to Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation” ̶ based on four days of presentation sessions and roundtable discussions. We sincerely hope that discussions by both experts and members of the public on this issue allow us to deepen our understanding of the situation and better able us to recommend the wisest policy decisions in regard to management of the disaster, beyond positions and paradigms, for better radiation protection measures.

The 6th Citizen-Scientists International Symposium on Radiation Protection

For further scientific elucidation of health risks due to radiation exposure caused by the 2011 TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, in order to practice better public protection and response measures

Conclusions

Radiation protection measures should be carried out in agreement with the research of scientists from rel-evant disciplines, based on the underlying epidemiological findings. In particular, there are a number of epi-demiological evidences supporting the linear non-thresholdLNTmodel that states that the health effects of ionizing radiation have no safety threshold and are linearly proportional to the exposure dose even at a cumulative dose lower than 100 millisievertmSv.All the radiation protection measures should presuppose this model from a precautionary standpoint.Note 1

Recommendations to the Japanese Government and relevant parties

Expansion of thyroid cancer examination and enhancement of support

Several epidemiological views conclude that the results of the Fukushima prefectural health management survey are already clearly showing the frequent occurrence of thyroid cancer. Considering the diagnosed tu-mor sizes and the surgery cases that resulted from the survey, the currently practiced thyroid examination is consistent with one of the objectives of the survey, “early detection, early treatment.” The survey should be expanded, and the support should be enhanced for people suffering from thyroid cancer and other thyroid abnormalities.Note 2

Expansion of health survey

Health protection must be provided not only to the affected residents, but also to the people who are at risk of exposure to radiation while carrying out accident-related work, such as the nuclear plant workers and the off-site decontamination workers. The survey of health effects should be expanded to these people in or-der to determine what damages are being caused by radiation exposure, whether the current measures are effective enough and what should be done to improve the situation.Note 3

Respect of the victims’ rights

The emigrated ex-residents or the evacuees should not be forced to return to their hometowns. Those who wish to stay evacuated or emigrated, those who wish to evacuate or emigrate hereafter, or those who want to return to their hometowns, as well as those who have decided to stay in their hometowns despite the ac-cumulating exposure dose — all of the parties should be supported so that they can build the life they de-sire, all while avoiding radiation exposure as much as possible.Note 4

Revision of risk communication

In order to improve the current social environment that dissuades the victims from expressing their con-cern about the health effects of radiation, it is necessary to revise the “risk communication” measures led by the central and the local administrative authorities. Measures that aim to persuade the victims of the small risk of health effects without provinding sufficient evidence and impelling them to act as the authorities want, should be revised.Note 5

Education and public information on nuclear power and radiation

School teaching materials and learning places are provided from the pro-nuclear standpoint, unilaterally stressing the safety of nuclear power plants and downplaying the risk of health effects. Instead, the stand-point of those who bear the riskaccident victims, workers and future generationsshould be taken into ac-count fully.Note 6

Role of citizens and scientists

Citizens, including scientists, researchers and media professionals, are requested to promote an open dia-logue in which each party accomplishes its original mission for the pursuit of truth. Together, the victims and all the people involved are expected to create a living environment and public space that enable each of them to express what they really think and feel, to form a consensus, and thus to give rise to mutual trust. Note 7

Notes

Note 1On this issue, a separate joint statement by the epidemiologists who participated in the 6th Citizen-Scientist Symposium on Ra-diation Protection is to be published.

Note 2It is necessary to re-examine the thyroid surveys conducted on those who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the acci-dent, by expanding the rangesages and regionsand frequency of the surveys. Cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed by examinations other than the Fukushima prefecture health management survey should be disclosed, including those diagnosed in other regions that may also suffer from radiation effects. Several municipalities located outside the Fukushima prefecture indeed do carry out their own surveys. In addition, it is required to examine thyroid abnormalities other than cancer and to publish the results.

Five years after the accident, when the health effects of radiation exposure are now expected to emerge, the appearance instead, of ar-guments aiming to reduce the thyroid surveys is an issue. Building a debate based on the unsound concept of the “negative effects of the survey” does not appear as a scientifically driven decision. It is historical fact that the delay after which thyroid cancer appears after exposure to radiations, originally estimated to 10 years or more based on data from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors, had to be revised to five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Continuing the survey is thus crucial because it ties into the issue of future compensation. Therefore, the review committee for the Fukushima prefectural health management survey should not be limit-ed by past ideas but should take new data and findings into full consideration.

Studies should be promoted to estimate how much irradiation happened just after the accident, and the results should be made public. As was discussed at the 5th International Expert Symposium in Fukushima on Radiation and HealthSeptember 2016, data on the contamination by iodine-131 are scarce. The only way to determine the initial exposure dose is to investigate the existing contamination by iodine 129 and other fission products in the environment and to reconstruct the initial dose. Studies need to be extended to regions outside the Fukushima prefecture, because contamination spreads in wide areas in Eastern Japan as shown by results from the air-borne monitoring of the Ministry of Science and TechnologyMEXTand the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

Note 3The Fukushima prefectural health management survey has been criticized from the very beginning for its narrowness of appli-cation. For example, blood testing, whose importance has been emphasized in the areas affected by the Chernobyl accident, has been treated lightly in the case of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Moreover, given that contamination has spread to ar-eas beyond the border of Fukushima prefecture, it is difficult to understand why the comprehensive health check is limited to evacua-tion zones in Fukushima prefecture. Cancer registration data and other medical information essential for comparative studies of the health status in the affected areas are not made public. Concerns have been expressed about the exposure management of subcon-tracted workers. A re-examination of the health care system for all workers at risk of radiation exposure, including the off-site cleanup workers is imperative. The fact that the Government and TEPCO have failed to disclose necessary information, has given rise to the suspicion that they might be concealing inconvenient information. They are required to take action to address the spreading distrust.

Note 4The current policy promoted by the government under the name of “reconstruction” is laying a disproportionate emphasis on the return of evacuees to their hometowns, through the prompt cancellation of evacuation orders and while neglecting support towards victims who desire to emigrate or to remain evacuated. The government has announced the cut off, in March 2017, of the provision of free housing for what they call “voluntary evacuees”evacuees from outside the evacuation order area. A similar policy is expected to be applied to evacuees from the current evacuation order areas, once the orders are lifted. Such policies leave no choice to the victims who wish to remain evacuated and avoid further radiation exposure, but to return to their hometowns. Meanwhile, long-term support is needed for those victims who are living in contaminated regions, inside or outside the Fukushima prefecture, including support to resi-dents who wish to evacuate hereafter.

Note 5The government’s so-called “risk communication” currently underplays the health effects of radiation exposure caused by the nuclear power plant accident and merely consists in delivering basic knowledge of radiation while claiming that the risks are small, of-ten comparing the health risk of low level radiation to those of medical radiation, smoking, and obesity. This “risk communication” activ-ity has been nothing but a unilateral delivery of information that highlight optimistic views on the risk of radiation exposure. It has failed to install a dialogue that considers the diverse points of view held by the affected residents.

In particular, the conventional government-led “risk communication” has created a social atmosphere in which choosing to avoid being exposed to low-level radiations for long-term safety, is regarded as “wrong”. Victims who wish to emigrate or to remain evacuated from areas where exposure is possible, or those who desire to avoid as much radiation as they can from the food, clothing and shelter even though they chose to remain in their regions, all of them are repressed from expressing their concerns. At times, this causes conflict and cleavages between family members, friends and neighbors.

Intrinsically, “risk communication” should consider the wide range of opinions that exist regarding the risks and, through dialogue be-tween experts and residents, it should elaborate a set of measures that are adapted to each resident’s lifestyle. Initiatives such as col-lecting straightforward scientific data that is useful for avoiding exposure in daily life, illustrate the importance of mutual learning and common efforts between residents and experts.

Note 6In public teaching materials, such as the supplementary reader on radiation issued by MEXT in 2014, the instructional materials issued by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Educationthe 1st to the 5th editionsin 2011-16, and the exhibition of the Exchange BuildingKomyutan Fukushimainaugurated by the Fukushima Prefectural Environmental Innovation Center in July 2016, there is al-most no explanation on the official limits of radiation exposure doses, including those in radiation controlled areas5.2 mSv/year, the additional exposure for the general public1 mSv/yearand those of the evacuation order area20 mSv/year. Nor is there any expla-nation on emergency radiation protection measures such as the administration of stable iodine, or on the Nuclear Accident Child Vic-tims’ Support Law, enacted in 2012 to protect the victims’ rights.

Note 7Since the beginning of the accident, not only the information needed in order to avoid radiation exposure was insufficiently dis-closed, but also the voices of victims were not reflected in the policy decision process related to radiation protection. In order to devise countermeasures that reflect the voices and needs of the most affected victims, it is also required on the side of the citizens, to make opportunities for communication, that is, dialogues widely involving citizens, including scientists, researchers, media, etc.

The symposium participants who agree on this document are as follows:

Cécile Asanuma-Brice, National Center for Scientific ResearchCNRS,France Keith Baverstock, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Iuliia Davydova, Institute of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, NAMS of Ukraine :Ukraine Shinobu Goto, University of Fukushima, Japan

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Scientific illustrator, Switzerland Wolfgang Hoffmann, Urnst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität, Germany Paul Jobin, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Toshiki Mashimo, Citizen-Scientist Symposium on Radiation Protection, Japan John Mathews, University of Melbourne, Australia

Sebastian Pflugbeil, Society for Radiation Protection, Germany

Yoshiyuki Segawa, Citizen-Scientist Symposium on Radiation Protection, Japan Susumu Shimazono, Sophia University, Japan

Nanako Shimizu, University of Utsunomiya, Japan Ben Spycher, University of Bern, Switzerland Yasuyuki Taneichi, Kuwano Kyoritsu Hospital, Japan Tomoko Tsuchiya, NPO HSE Risk C-cube, Japan Takuya Tsujiuchi, University of Waseda, Japan

https://www.iwanami.co.jp/kagaku/eKagaku_201703_CSRP.pdf

Deadly nuclear radiation levels detected in Fukushima

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Extremely high radiation levels were detected using cameras and robots in tainted water inside a reactor containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan Times reported Tuesday, citing Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco).

The latest readings, taken six years after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, showed 11 sieverts per hour, according to Japan Times. It is the highest radiation level detected in water inside the containment vessel and is extremely dangerous. Sievert is a unit measurement for a dose of radiation. One sievert is enough to cause illness if absorbed all at once, and 8 sieverts will result in death despite treatment, according to PBS who relied on data from multiple sources including United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and MIT’s Nuclear Science and Engineering department.

Following a major earthquake on March 11, 2011, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima reactors, causing a nuclear accident. Tepco, who operated the plant and has been tasked with cleaning up the worst nuclear incident, since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union, has been some problems of late in its cleanup operation.

Recently, an exploratory robot malfunctioned and died after being sent inside reactor 2, in mid-February, due to exposure to “unimaginable” levels of radiation, close to 650 sieverts per hour. The previous highest recorded level was 73 sieverts per hour. Following the incident, Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning project, told reporters the company had to rethink its methods in order to examine and extract the hazardous material stuck in the plant’s second reactor.

We should think out of the box so we can examine the bottom of the core and how melted fuel debris spread out,” Masuda said, according to the Japan Times.

Tepco has been attempting to locate melted fuel which leaked from the reactor’s pressure vessel and is believed to have settled at the bottom of the containment vessel that holds the contaminated water. So far, no such debris has been found, and Tepco decided to extend the survey by one day through Wednesday.

A robot sent by the company on March 20 reached the bottom but was unable to locate the melted fuel due to some pipes that blocked its view.  But it was able to take pictures of what appeared to be sand piling up near the pipes. The radiation readings near them were 6.3 sieverts per hour.

Judging from the radiation level, there is a high possibility that what is piling up on the pipes is not nuclear fuel,” a Tepco official said, according to the Asahi Shimbun

Cleaning up the plant may take an estimated 40 years and cost an estimated 21.5 trillion yen ($189 billion), according to the Guardian.

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/deadly-nuclear-radiation-levels-detected-in-fukushima/

80% of families not going back to Fukushima after housing aid ends

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Eighty percent of households who fled but were not forced to evacuate from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear disaster do not intend to return even after their free housing allowance ends this month.

According to the survey results released March 21, 3,722 households, or 80 percent of 4,673 households who had evacuated outside the prefecture, said they had no intention of returning.

As for the 4,010 households who fled but remained inside the prefecture, 949 households, or 24 percent, gave the same response, while 67 percent, or 2,674 households, planned to eventually return to their hometowns.

The statistics are based on responses from 8,683 households that evacuated out of 12,000 contacted by the Fukushima prefectural government.

The central and prefectural governments have provided free housing for evacuees from outside the designated evacuation zone since the nuclear accident triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and catastrophic tsunami.

It was announced in June 2015 the housing program would end this month.

Prefectural officials said part of the reason for the high ratio of people unwilling to return to Fukushima Prefecture is partly because they are uninformed about the rebuilding situation.

Their resolve to stay away from the prefecture is firm due to concerns about radiation and other factors in the first place,” an official said. “In addition, it appears that they don’t have good access to information on what is going on in the prefecture.”

The number of people that had evacuated to locales inside and outside of Fukushima Prefecture on a voluntary basis totaled 30,000 as of October 2015.

Support groups have demanded the continuation of the housing program.

Whereas 97 percent of the total households contacted, or 11,896, replied that they have already decided on where they would live from April, 2 percent, or 227 households, responded otherwise as of March 10.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703220058.html

A Campaign to Tackle “Misinformation” about Radioactive Contamination

Masahiro Imamura, Minister for Reconstruction, wants to launch a large-scale campaign, to correct the incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture; as an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination” crippling Fukushima foods. That means more propaganda to come, more lies to hide the real risks of radiation to the people’s health. As if propaganda, to brainwash the people with a large-scale campaign would be the solution to make radiation disappear.

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 Reconstruction chief Masahiro Imamura

Reconstruction chief praises efforts in Tohoku, flags information campaign on radiation risks

Minister for reconstruction Masahiro Imamura has praised efforts to rebuild the devastated Tohoku region but says a large-scale information campaign is needed to share accurate information about radiation six years after the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Imamura outlined the plan in a recent interview in response to what he said was incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture.

It also comes as a growing number of children who evacuated from the prefecture fall victim to bullying.

Massive amounts of radioactive substances were emitted from the plant soon after it was knocked out by massive tsunami from the 9.0-magnitude March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, which hit hardest in Fukushima and the nearby prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate.

Asked about the degree of progress in reconstructing areas hit by the disaster, Imamura said, “Acquisition of land and other procedures needed for the restoration of damaged infrastructure initially took time, but the pace of construction work was very rapid once it was launched.”

From now, we should focus on the rebuilding of Fukushima,” he said, noting that medium- to long-term measures should be promoted, including decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant and decontaminating areas polluted with radioactive fallout.

We want to encourage evacuees to return to their hometowns in Fukushima by presenting future visions for the communities through improving the living environment and accelerating the revival of local industries,” Imamura added.

On how to tackle the incidences of bullying targeting evacuated Fukushima children, Imamura said, “We’ll strengthen information-sharing about radiation. All government agencies should jointly work to compile and launch a campaign for that purpose, while obtaining cooperation from private companies.

This is an issue for not only children, but adults,” he said. “We’ll prepare documents and other materials that are easy to understand in order to eliminate prejudice against evacuated people.”

Imamura said the campaign would also be an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination crippling Fukushima foods.”

I’ll seek cooperation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well,” he said.

Imamura said he believed the Reconstruction Agency’s efforts to date to rebuild areas affected by the March 2011 disaster have been praised to a certain degree. Still, he pointed to the importance of re-examining whether information on what affected areas need has been properly conveyed to the Reconstruction Agency and other government bodies.

Imamura said Japan’s aging population and low birthrate were also contributing to shrinking communities across the nation — something he described as a structural problem.

It’s important to build a system that generates profits through stepped-up use of information technology and the modernization of factory equipment, even if human resources are limited,” he said.

We need to check again whether communities will be able to smoothly help one another in times of disaster, although lessons from the March 2011 disaster were effectively utilized in a series of powerful earthquakes that mainly hit Kumamoto Prefecture in April last year, and the October 2016 strong quake in Tottori Prefecture,” Imamura added.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/21/national/reconstruction-chief-praises-efforts-tohoku-flags-information-campaign-radiation-risks/#.WNJEq6KmnIV