International physicians’ recommendations for protecting health after the Fukushima nuclear disaster (IPPNW and PSR)

29 August 2012
FUKUSHIMA/TOKYO “Our most important obligation to the many harmed by the Fukushima disaster is to
eradicate nuclear weapons and phase out nuclear power,” says Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, Co-President
of IPPNW – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War after a visit to Fukushima. Thirty
physicians, medical students and scholars from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany,
Finland, Israel, India, New Zealand and Australia visited Fukushima yesterday for an investigative tour.
The fundamental processes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons are the same. In 1998, IPPNW first took
a clear position that on medical grounds nuclear power should be phased out. Nuclear power is unacceptably
hazardous to health at all stages, risks catastrophic radiation releases, and is inextricably linked with the
production of enriched uranium and plutonium which can be used for nuclear weapons, the greatest and
most acute threat to global health.
• People living in contaminated regions should have access to full information on their likely radiation
exposures and supported in all possible ways to minimize these. For those with anticipated annual
exposure greater than 5 mSv, or more than 1mSv for children and women of child-bearing age,
equitable and consistent access to health care, housing, employment and educational support and
compensation should be provided if they choose to re-locate. The recent Nuclear Accident Child
Victims Law is an important step in the right direction and should be effectively implemented as soon
as feasible. All such measures should be based on actual radiation exposure levels and not distance.
Every effort should be made to reduce exposures below 1 mSv per year as quickly as possible.
• Early establishment of a comprehensive register of all likely to have been exposed to more than 1mSv
of radiation from all sources as a result of the Fukushima disaster. This will include people in
prefectures neighbouring Fukushima. This register should be linked with best estimates of radiation
exposures since the disaster, and used as a basis for linkage with national data on mortality, cancer,
congenital malformations and pregnancy outcome.
• The group expressed concern for the health of the more than 20,000 workers who have worked at
the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the earthquake, and the many more who will need to work there
over the many decades it will take to decommission the damaged reactors and spent fuel ponds.
They were disturbed by frequent reports of inadequate protection of workers and falsely low
radiation exposure measurements. A lifetime radiation exposure register should quickly be
established for all workers in the nuclear industry.
• There has been regrettable misinformation disseminated, including by senior professionals and in
school educational materials, downplaying the risks of radiation. The corrupting influence of the
‘nuclear village’ is widespread

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