24 Mai 2012
May 23, 2012-05-24
WHO estimates Fukushima people's exposure levels
The World Health Organization says some Japanese citizens were exposed to up to 50 millisieverts of radiation during last year's nuclear crisis, but that this is not enough to cause cancer.
The WHO released a preliminary report on estimated radiation exposure over the 4 months after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011.
The estimation is based on the results of a Japanese government survey of soil and food products. The results were released to the public in September last year.
The report estimates that Namie town and Iitate Village in Fukushima Prefecture, close to the plant, were exposed to the highest levels of 10 to 50 millisieverts.
It says other parts of the prefecture received between one and 10 millisieverts, while areas outside the immediate impact of the disaster got 0.1 to one millisievert.
No area of the country saw exposures exceeding the cancer-risk level of 100 millisieverts.
The WHO says the estimates may be too high because it assumed that people remained in their communities near the plant for 4 months after the accident -- in fact, most quickly evacuated.
The organization says it also excluded from its calculations the sales ban on food products contaminated with higher radiation levels than the government limit.
The WHO says it will release a final report in July, which will include a comprehensive assessment of the accident's impact on people's health.