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No direct health effects from Fukushima N-crisis: UN

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19 Jul 2022 11:07:36 GMT9
19 Jul 2022 11:07:36 GMT9

TOKYO: Gillian Hirth, former chair of a UN panel, on Tuesday reiterated the panel’s view that radiation exposure from the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture had no direct adverse health effects on local people.

“The accident led to no adverse documented public health effects that were directly attributable to radiation exposure from the accident,” Hirth told a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

Noting that the investigation by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is independent and based on up-to-date data, Hirth said the conclusion is “unlikely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.”

Hirth observed that “future cancer rates that could be inferred from radiation exposure (from the Fukushima accident) are unlikely to be discernible.”

The nuclear accident, triggered by the March 2011 powerful earthquake and tsunami, happened at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the northeastern prefecture.

Regarding an increase in new thyroid cancer cases among local children, Hirth said that the rise “was judged to be the result of extensive ultrasensitive screening.”

The press conference was also attended by Mikhail Balonov, the main author of a report released by the panel in March last year.

On a view that the report does not include enough data taken just after the start of the accident, Balonov said that the impact of radiation on health is not something that occurs immediately.

While no adverse health effects have been observed until now, monitoring should continue, Balonov said.

Visits by officials related to the UN committee, including Hirth and Balonov, had been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

They are set to attend a public meeting in the Fukushima city of Iwaki on Thursday.

JIJI Press

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