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

Are such estimates the only way to define exposure?

January 27, 2013

Fukushima thyroid exposure at "safe levels"



Japanese researchers say residents of Fukushima Prefecture were not exposed to levels of radiation that would damage their thyroid glands.

The researchers at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences explained the results of their study at a symposium in Tokyo on Sunday.

The impact of radioactive iodine on the thyroid gland is difficult to detect as the substance dissipates quickly.

The internationally permissible level is 50 millisieverts.

The researchers used tests conducted soon after the accident at the nuclear plant and data on radioactive cesium to estimate the amount of radioactive iodine absorbed by residents in 12 municipalities.

They also calculated the amount taken in by those in other places with a simulation that shows radioactive iodine spreading from the plant.

They say residents of Iwaki City, Futaba Town and Iitate Village were exposed to the highest levels. They estimate that one-year-old children received exposure of up to 30 millisieverts.

The institute says no one in the Fukushima accident 2 years ago is likely to have been exposed to more than the internationally permissible level of 50 millisieverts.

Makoto Akashi of the institute says the estimate can be made more precise with data on the individuals' movements at the time of the accident.

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