Individual external doses below the lowest reference level of 1 mSv per year five years after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident among all children in Soma City, Fukushima: A retrospective observational study.
ABSTRACT: 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:External exposure to gamma-photon irradiation from soil contamination due to nuclear power plant (NPP) accidents has significant contribution to human radiation exposure in the proximity of the NPP. Detailed absorbed doses in human organs are rarely reported in the literature. We applied the Monte Carlo Neutron Particle (MCNP) transport code to calculate and compare the absorbed doses in different human organs. The absorbed doses by gamma-photon radiation were from cesium-137 (<sup>137</sup>Cs) in soil contaminated by the two major NPP accidents. More serious and wide-spread impacts of the Chernobyl NPP accident on soil contamination in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and countries as far as Sweden and Greece were due to the inland location, radiative plume transport pathway and high <sup>137</sup>Cs emission strength (9 times the Fukushima emission). Based on our MCNP calculations, the largest absorbed dose was found in skin. The maximum calculated external <sup>137</sup>Cs annual effective dose received from the Chernobyl accident was 10 times higher relative to the Fukushima accident. Our calculated effective doses at various influenced areas were comparable to those available in the literature. The calculated annual effective doses at areas near the Fukushima and Chernobyl NPPs exceeded the ICRP recommendation of 1?mSv?yr<sup>-1</sup>.
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:Radiation dose rates were evaluated in three areas neighboring a restricted area within a 20- to 50-km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in August-September 2012 and projected to 2022 and 2062. Study participants wore personal dosimeters measuring external dose equivalents, almost entirely from deposited radionuclides (groundshine). External dose rate equivalents owing to the accident averaged 1.03, 2.75, and 1.66 mSv/y in the village of Kawauchi, the Tamano area of Soma, and the Haramachi area of Minamisoma, respectively. Internal dose rates estimated from dietary intake of radiocesium averaged 0.0058, 0.019, and 0.0088 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. Dose rates from inhalation of resuspended radiocesium were lower than 0.001 mSv/y. In 2012, the average annual doses from radiocesium were close to the average background radiation exposure (2 mSv/y) in Japan. Accounting only for the physical decay of radiocesium, mean annual dose rates in 2022 were estimated as 0.31, 0.87, and 0.53 mSv/y in Kawauchi, Tamano, and Haramachi, respectively. The simple and conservative estimates are comparable with variations in the background dose, and unlikely to exceed the ordinary permissible dose rate (1 mSv/y) for the majority of the Fukushima population. Health risk assessment indicates that post-2012 doses will increase lifetime solid cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer incidences by 1.06%, 0.03% and 0.28% respectively, in Tamano. This assessment was derived from short-term observation with uncertainties and did not evaluate the first-year dose and radioiodine exposure. Nevertheless, this estimate provides perspective on the long-term radiation exposure levels in the three regions.
Project description:A primary health concern among residents and evacuees in affected areas immediately after a nuclear accident is the internal exposure of the thyroid to radioiodine, particularly I-131, and subsequent thyroid cancer risk. In Japan, the natural disasters of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 destroyed an important function of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (F1-NPP) and a large amount of radioactive material was released to the environment. Here we report for the first time extensive measurements of the exposure to I-131 revealing I-131 activity in the thyroid of 46 out of the 62 residents and evacuees measured. The median thyroid equivalent dose was estimated to be 4.2 mSv and 3.5 mSv for children and adults, respectively, much smaller than the mean thyroid dose in the Chernobyl accident (490 mSv in evacuees). Maximum thyroid doses for children and adults were 23 mSv and 33 mSv, respectively.
Project description: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 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: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:<h4>Background</h4>After the Chernobyl accident on 26 April 1986, a drop in birth-rate was found in several European countries in the first quarter of 1987. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether a similar drop in live births occurred in Japan after the Fukushima nuclear accident.<h4>Data and methods</h4>A study region was defined consisting of Fukushima prefecture plus 10 nearby prefectures. The observed monthly numbers of live births (LB) in October 2011 through December 2012 were compared with the predicted numbers determined from the trend of live births in the remaining months from January 2006 through December 2018. The study region was divided into Fukushima plus three adjacent prefectures (Area A, assumed effective mean dose in the first year 1 mSv) and seven surrounding prefectures (Area B, 0.5 mSv). The rest of Japan (Area C) served as the comparison (control) region (0.1 mSv). A combined regression of live births (LB) in areas A, B, C was conducted with individual trend parameters but common parameters for monthly variations.<h4>Results</h4>In the study region as a whole (areas A and B combined) a highly significant 9.1% (95% CI: -12.2%, -6.0%) drop in LB was found in December 2011. Reduced numbers of live births were also observed in October-November 2011 (-3.3%, p = 0.006), i.e. in births exposed early in pregnancy. In the second quarter of 2012, i.e. in live births conceived more than 3 months after the Fukushima accident, the decrease was greater (-4.3%, p < 0.001) than in the first quarter (-1.6%, p = 0.11). i.e. in those conceived within the first three months after the accident while no significant decrease was detected in the third (-0.7%, p = 0.44) and fourth (-0.5%, p = 0.62) quarters. The effect in Dec 2011 was greater in Area A with -14.0 (-17.6, -10.3) % than in Area B with -7.8 (-11.1, -4.5) % and non-significant in Area C with -1.3 (-4.2, +1.6) %, p = 0.38. The combined regression of the data in areas A, B, and C found a highly significant association of the effect in December 2011 with radiation dose. Conclusion: It is suggested that the observed drop in LB in December 2011 may reflect early deaths of the conceptus from high radiation exposure following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 12-15, 2011.
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:We summarize the inspections of radiocesium concentration levels in rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, for 3 years from the nuclear accident in 2011. In 2011, three types of verifications, preliminary survey, main inspection, and emergency survey, revealed that rice with radiocesium concentration levels over 500 Bq/kg (the provisional regulation level until March 2012 in Japan) was identified in the areas north and west of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The internal exposure of an average adult eating rice grown in the area north of the nuclear plant was estimated as 0.05 mSv/year. In 2012, Fukushima Prefecture authorities decided to investigate the radiocesium concentration levels in all rice using custom-made belt conveyor testers. Notably, rice with radiocesium concentration levels over 100 Bq/kg (the new standard since April 2012 in Japan) were detected in only 71 and 28 bags out of the total 10,338,000 in 2012 and 11,001,000 in 2013, respectively. We considered that there were almost no rice exceeding 100 Bq/kg produced in Fukushima Prefecture after 3 years from the nuclear accident, and the safety of Fukushima's rice were ensured because of the investigation of all rice.