Fukushima Did Not Have The Anticipated Result

Summary

The March 2011 Tsunami caused major damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. 20,000 emergency workers experienced higher the normal radiation exposure over the subsequent year: an average of 13 mSv.  174 of those workers received more than 100 mSv, a much higher than normal dose.

A report by  a United Nations Committee in 2021 stated: “…an increase in the incidence of cancers is unlikely to be discernible amongst workers for leukemia, total solid cancers, or thyroid cancer.”

Background

On 11 March 2011, at 14.46 local time, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake occurred near Honshu, Japan, creating a devastating tsunami that left a trail of death and destruction in its wake. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which flooded over 500 square kilometres of land, resulted in the loss of more than 20,000 lives and destroyed property, infrastructure and natural resources. They also led to the worst civil nuclear disaster since the one at Chernobyl in 1986. The loss of off-site and on-site electrical power and compromised safety systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station led to severe core damage to three of the six nuclear reactors on the site; this resulted in the release, over a prolonged period, of radioactive material into the environment.

The UN Study

In May of 2011, the United Nations Scientific Committee On The Effects of Atomic Radiation started a two year assessment of the levels and effects of radiation exposure from the accident. They then published a follow-up report in 2020/2021.

Exposure to radiation could lead to an increased incidence of disease in the exposed population.

The Committee found no credible evidence of excess birth defects, stillbirths, premature births or low birthweights related to radiation exposure. Increases in the incidence of cardiovascular and metabolic conditions have been observed among those evacuated following the accident but are probably associated with concomitant social and lifestyle changes and are not attributable to radiation exposure.

The Committee also concluded that no detectable excesses of thyroid and other types of cancer that are sensitive to radiation, such as leukaemia or breast cancer, were likely because of the generally low levels of radiation exposure in the Fukushima Prefecture population.

The Committee also found that, 10 years on, the levels of radiation exposure for the accident, in all but the most highly contaminated areas, have reduced to levels that are below the radiation exposure from natural background.

See The Full Report