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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

New guidelines for radiation treatment

August 26, 2015

Nuclear regulator designates 5 treatment centers



Aug. 26, 2015 - Updated 13:53 UTC+2

Japan's nuclear regulator has designated 5 medical institutions as treatment centers for people exposed to heavy doses of radiation in the event of an accident at a nuclear plant.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority released its revised disaster preparedness guidelines on Wednesday. The new rules reflect lessons learned from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Prefectures within 30 kilometers of a nuclear plant are now required to designate one to 3 medical institutions as base hospitals.

In addition, 5 institutions were chosen to take charge of serious radiation exposure cases if the base hospitals are unable to. The 5 institutions are in Chiba, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima and Aomori prefectures.

The guidelines also stipulate that if an accident is severe, the 5 institutions and the base hospitals will work together to send medical teams to affected areas.

The government's previous plan called for medical institutions around nuclear plants to provide treatment. This plan assumed that only a few plant workers would be affected by a nuclear accident.

Many evacuees potentially exposed to radiation in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster did not receive adequate medical attention through the system.



Japan revises guideline on medical care in nuclear emergency



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday revised a guideline on measures against nuclear emergency to boost the country's medical preparedness for nuclear disaster, reflecting lessons learned from the Fukushima meltdowns triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The regulator aims to build a medical service network to that end across the country over the next three years or so by obliging local municipalities hosting nuclear plants to designate one or more hospitals as medical institutions that can provide emergency treatment for radiation exposure.

The disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi complex, which resulted in the massive leakage of radioactive materials, exposed the vulnerability of hospitals and medical networks in the event of a nuclear emergency, with many evacuees not given proper treatment.

The regulator designated a total of five university hospitals and research institutions, including Fukushima Medical University and Hiroshima University, as facilities for treatment of a large number of people exposed to high levels of radiation, who could not be treated within the framework of local medical networks.

Under the revised guideline, the regulator also calls for strengthening advanced education on radiation treatment for medical staffers, while organizing teams -- comprising doctors, nurses and nuclear experts -- which will be dispatched to support local hospitals in the event of a nuclear emergency.

On Aug. 11, a nuclear reactor located on the southwestern Japanese main island of Kyushu came back online, becoming the first reactor in Japan to be reactivated under the post-Fukushima, upgraded safety regulations.

The government seeks to reactivate the remaining idled reactors that have cleared the regulator's safety screening, but strong safety concerns over the use of nuclear power remain among the public.




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