Relationship between Individual External Doses, Ambient Dose Rates and Individuals' Activity-Patterns in Affected Areas in Fukushima following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident.
ABSTRACT: The accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011, released radioactive material into the atmosphere and contaminated the land in Fukushima and several neighboring prefectures. Five years after the nuclear disaster, the radiation levels have greatly decreased due to physical decay, weathering, and decontamination operations in Fukushima. The populations of 12 communities were forced to evacuate after the accident; as of March 2016, the evacuation order has been lifted in only a limited area, and permanent habitation is still prohibited in most of the areas. In order for the government to lift the evacuation order and for individuals to return to their original residential areas, it is important to assess current and future realistic individual external doses. Here, we used personal dosimeters along with the Global Positioning System and Geographic Information System to understand realistic individual external doses and to relate individual external doses, ambient doses, and activity-patterns of individuals in the affected areas in Fukushima. The results showed that the additional individual external doses were well correlated to the additional ambient doses based on the airborne monitoring survey. The results of linear regression analysis suggested that the additional individual external doses were on average about one-fifth that of the additional ambient doses. The reduction factors, which are defined as the ratios of the additional individual external doses to the additional ambient doses, were calculated to be on average 0.14 and 0.32 for time spent at home and outdoors, respectively. Analysis of the contribution of various activity patterns to the total individual external dose demonstrated good agreement with the average fraction of time spent daily in each activity, but the contribution due to being outdoors varied widely. These results are a valuable contribution to understanding realistic individual external doses and the corresponding airborne monitoring-based ambient doses and time-activity patterns of individuals. Moreover, the results provide important information for predicting future cumulative doses after the return of residents to evacuation order areas in Fukushima.
Project description:The Fukushima Health Management Survey (including the Basic Survey for external dose estimation and four detailed surveys) was launched after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The Basic Survey consists of a questionnaire that asks Fukushima Prefecture residents about their behavior in the first four months after the accident; and responses to the questionnaire have been returned from many residents. The individual external doses are estimated by using digitized behavior data and a computer program that included daily gamma ray dose rate maps drawn after the accident. The individual external doses of 421,394 residents for the first four months (excluding radiation workers) had a distribution as follows: 62.0%, <1 mSv; 94.0%, <2 mSv; 99.4%, <3 mSv. The arithmetic mean and maximum for the individual external doses were 0.8 and 25 mSv, respectively. While most dose estimation studies were based on typical scenarios of evacuation and time spent inside/outside, the Basic Survey estimated doses considering individually different personal behaviors. Thus, doses for some individuals who did not follow typical scenarios could be revealed. Even considering such extreme cases, the estimated external doses were generally low and no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects is expected.
Project description:The great east Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunamis caused Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) accident. National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) developed the external dose estimation system for Fukushima residents. The system is being used in the Fukushima health management survey. The doses can be obtained by superimposing the behavior data of the residents on the dose rate maps. For grasping the doses, 18 evacuation patterns of the residents were assumed by considering the actual evacuation information before using the survey data. The doses of the residents from the deliberate evacuation area were relatively higher than those from the area within 20 km radius. The estimated doses varied from around 1 to 6 mSv for the residents evacuated from the representative places in the deliberate evacuation area. The maximum dose in 18 evacuation patterns was estimated to be 19 mSv.
Project description:After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, little information has been available on individual doses from external exposure among residents living in radioactively contaminated areas near the nuclear plant; in the present study we evaluated yearly changes in the doses from external exposure after the accident and the effects of decontamination on external exposure. This study considered all children less than 16 years of age in Soma City, Fukushima who participated in annual voluntary external exposure screening programs during the five years after the accident (n = 5,363). In total, 14,405 screening results were collected. The median participant age was eight years. The geometric mean levels of annual additional doses from external exposure attributable to the Fukushima accident, decreased each year: 0.60 mSv (range: not detectable (ND)-4.29 mSv), 0.37 mSv (range: ND-3.61 mSv), 0.22 mSv (range: ND-1.44 mSv), 0.20 mSv (range: ND-1.87 mSv), and 0.17 mSv (range: ND-0.85 mSv) in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively. The proportion of residents with annual additional doses from external exposure of more than 1 mSv dropped from 15.6% in 2011 to zero in 2015. Doses from external exposure decreased more rapidly than those estimated from only physical decay, even in areas without decontamination (which were halved in 395 days from November 15, 2011), presumably due to the weathering effects. While the ratios of geometric mean doses immediately after decontamination to before were slightly lower than those during the same time in areas without decontamination, annual additional doses reduced by decontamination were small (0.04-0.24 mSv in the year of immediately after decontamination was completed). The results of this study showed that the levels of external exposure among Soma residents less than 16 years of age decreased during the five years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Decontamination had only limited and temporal effects on reducing individual external doses.
Project description:There is concern among residents that their children might suffer from thyroid cancer in the near future after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS) accident. However, the demographic and geographical distribution of thyroid equivalent doses was not thoroughly evaluated, and direct thyroid measurements were conducted only for 1,200 children, whose individual thyroid doses were assessed on the basis of those measurements accounting for the dynamics of radioiodine intake. We conducted hierarchical clustering analyses of 100 or 300 randomly sampled behavioural questionnaire sheets of children from each of seven municipalities in the evacuation area to reconstruct evacuation scenarios associated with high or low exposures to plumes. In total 896 behaviour records in the Fukushima Health Management Survey were analysed to estimate thyroid equivalent doses via inhalation, using a spatiotemporal radionuclides concentration database constructed by atmospheric dispersion simulations. After a decontamination factor for sheltering and a modifying factor for the dose coefficient-to reflect lower iodine uptake rate in Japanese-were applied, estimated thyroid equivalent doses were close to those estimated from direct thyroid measurement. The median and 95<sup>th</sup> percentile of thyroid equivalent doses of 1-year-old children ranged from 0.6 to 16?mSv and from 7.5 to 30?mSv, respectively. These results are useful for future epidemiological studies of thyroid cancer in Fukushima.
Project description:Environmental radioactive contamination caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident has aroused great concern regarding a possible increase in the incidence of childhood thyroid cancer. The ultrasound examinations were conducted immediately after the accident as part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS), which is divided into the preliminary baseline survey (PBLS) and the full-scale survey (FSS). Some of their outcomes are reported regularly and made available to the public. We have detailed measurements of the air-dose rates and radioactive elements in soil in many places all over the Fukushima prefecture. To study the dose-response relationship, we begin with the assumption that the external and internal doses are correlated with the air-dose rate and the amount of 131I in soil, respectively. We then investigate the relationship between these estimated doses and the PBLS and FSS thyroid cancer cases. Our analysis shows that the dose-response curve with the FSS data clearly differs from that with the PBLS data. Finally, we consider the potential mitigating effects of evacuation from highly contaminated areas in both external and internal exposure scenarios.
Project description:The accidents that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 have resulted in long-term, ongoing anxiety among the residents of Fukushima, Japan. Soon after the disaster, Fukushima Prefecture launched the Fukushima Health Management Survey to investigate long-term low-dose radiation exposure caused by the accident. Fukushima Medical University took the lead in planning and implementing this survey. The primary purposes of this survey are to monitor the long-term health of residents, promote their future well-being, and confirm whether long-term low-dose radiation exposure has health effects. This report describes the rationale and implementation of the Fukushima Health Management Survey.This cohort study enrolled all people living in Fukushima Prefecture after the earthquake and comprises a basic survey and 4 detailed surveys. The basic survey is to estimate levels of external radiation exposure among all 2.05 million residents. It should be noted that internal radiation levels were estimated by Fukushima Prefecture using whole-body counters. The detailed surveys comprise a thyroid ultrasound examination for all Fukushima children aged 18 years or younger, a comprehensive health check for all residents from the evacuation zones, an assessment of mental health and lifestyles of all residents from the evacuation zones, and recording of all pregnancies and births among all women in the prefecture who were pregnant on 11 March. All data have been entered into a database and will be used to support the residents and analyze the health effects of radiation.The low response rate (<30%) to the basic survey complicates the estimation of health effects. There have been no cases of malignancy to date among 38 114 children who received thyroid ultrasound examinations. The importance of mental health care was revealed by the mental health and lifestyle survey and the pregnancy and birth survey. This long-term large-scale epidemiologic study is expected to provide valuable data in the investigation of the health effects of low-dose radiation and disaster-related stress.
Project description:After the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, nursing-home residents and staff were evacuated voluntarily from damaged areas to avoid radiation exposure. Unfortunately, the evacuation resulted in increased mortalities among nursing home residents. We assessed the risk trade-off between evacuation and radiation for 191 residents and 184 staff at three nursing homes by using the same detriment indicator, namely loss of life expectancy (LLE), under four scenarios, i.e. "rapid evacuation (in accordance with the actual situation; i.e. evacuation on 22 March)," "deliberate evacuation (i.e. evacuation on 20 June)," "20-mSv exposure," and "100-mSv exposure." The LLE from evacuation-related mortality among nursing home residents was assessed with survival probability data from nursing homes in the city of Minamisoma and the city of Soma. The LLE from radiation mortality was calculated from the estimated age-specific mortality rates from leukemia and all solid cancers based on the additional effective doses and the survival probabilities. The total LLE of residents due to evacuation-related risks in rapid evacuation was 11,000 persons-d-much higher than the total LLEs of residents and staff due to radiation in the other scenarios (27, 1100, and 5800 persons-d for deliberate evacuation, 20 mSv-exposure, and 100 mSv-exposure, respectively). The latitude for reducing evacuation risks among nursing home residents is surprisingly large. Evacuation regulation and planning should therefore be well balanced with the trade-offs against radiation risks. This is the first quantitative assessment of the risk trade-off between radiation exposure and evacuation after a nuclear power plant accident.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Though mass evacuation may increase the need for long-term care (LTC) services, how the need for LTC services increases and how the public LTC system affects it is not well understood. We evaluated changes in public LTC benefits for the people living in the mandatory evacuation areas established after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and examined the roles of the universal LTC insurance system in Japan. METHODS:In order to evaluate the effect of the mandatory evacuation on LTC benefits, we examined the trends of LTC benefits in the Fukushima evacuation group and the nationwide non-evacuation group. We first decomposed per-elderly-individual benefits at the municipality level into the LTC certification rate and per-certified-individual benefits, and then implemented difference-in-differences analysis using these variables as outcomes. RESULTS:Per-elderly-individual benefits significantly increased from 2012 onward in the evacuation group, and this was explained by an increase in the certification rate rather than in per-certified-individual benefits. Increases in per-elderly-individual benefits and the certification rate in the post-disaster period were observed in all but the highest care level, and the corresponding outcomes for the highest care level decreased immediately after the disaster. We also found that the increase in the certification rate had been mostly realized by an increase in the number of certified individuals. CONCLUSIONS:The increase in LTC benefits can be associated with the impact of the increase in the number of people newly certified to receive LTC benefits after the mandatory evacuation. In order to cope with the increase in utilization of long-term care and associated costs after disasters in aging societies, both formal long-term care services and social support for informal care for evacuees should be considered important.
Project description:AIM:After the Great East Japan Earthquake, over 160,000 residents in Fukushima Prefecture were forced to evacuate the area around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant following nuclear accident there. Health problems in these evacuees have since become a major issue. We have examined the association between evacuation and incidence of hyperuricemia among residents in Fukushima. METHODS:We conducted a cohort study of residents aged 40-90 years without hyperuricemia at the time of the Fukushima disaster. Among 8173 residents who met the inclusion criteria before the disaster, 4789 residents (men: 1971, women: 2818; follow-up duration: 1.38 years; and follow-up rate: 58.6%) remained available for follow-up examinations at the end of March 2013. The main endpoint was incidence of hyperuricemia, defined by the Japanese committee guidelines, using local health data from before and after the disaster. We divided participants by evacuation status and compared outcomes between groups. Using a logistic regression model, we estimated the odds ratio for incidence of hyperuricemia, adjusting for potential confounders, age, gender, waist circumference, physical activity, and alcohol consumption. RESULTS:Incidence of hyperuricemia was higher in evacuees (men 10.1%; women 1.1%) than in non-evacuees (men 7.4%, women 1.0%). Evacuees had higher body mass index, waist circumference, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, and lower HDL-cholesterol after the disaster than non-evacuees. We found that evacuation was associated with incidence of hyperuricemia (adjusted odds ratio: 1.38; 95% confidence interval: 1.03-1.86). CONCLUSION:This is the first study to demonstrate an association between evacuation after a disaster and increased incidence of hyperuricemia.
Project description:In 2011, after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, the initial decrease in the ambient dose equivalent rate (dH*(10) dt-1), an alternative quantity to the effective dose, was studied using monitoring data obtained from March 16, 2011. The dH*(10) dt-1 was normalized by the 137Cs activity per unit area (norm-dH*(10) dt-1) to analyze the data across monitoring sites with different deposition levels. The norm-dH*(10) dt-1 showed a rapid decrease during the first 60 days, followed by slow decrease and was modeled using two exponential functions. The norm-dH*(10) dt-1 obtained in areas dominated by paved surfaces and buildings showed a faster decrease than the unpaved-dominant field, and this decrease was facilitated in residential areas compared with the evacuation zone. The decrease in norm-dH*(10) dt-1 was compared with simulation results using parameters obtained in Europe after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident that represent a decrease due to radionuclide migration (e.g., soil penetration and horizontal wash-off). The simulation results showed a faster decrease than our results, implying that there was less radiocesium migration in Fukushima than in Europe. The results also suggested that the regional variation in the decrease rate led to uncertainty regarding the external dose estimation.