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  • Fukushima: consequences, forecasts, radiological examination results.

Fukushima: consequences, forecasts, radiological examination results.

The accident at the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power Plant was the result of an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude in the Northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. After the earthquake shocks on the coast, a 14-meter tsunami wave flooded four out of six reactors at the NPP and disabled their cooling system, which led to a series of explosions of hydrogen and core melting.

Cause of the accident

The accident at the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power Plant was the result of an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude in the Northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. After the earthquake shocks on the coast, a 14-meter tsunami wave flooded four out of six reactors at the NPP and disabled their cooling system, which led to a series of explosions of hydrogen and core melting.

The accident was the largest one in a quarter of a century after the Chernobyl NPP disaster. According to the Academician Zhores Medvedev, the accident at the Fukushima-1 NPP in Japan has 20 times exceeded the Chernobyl NPP accident by its scope of emissions.

The figure shows radiation spreading during the first days after the accident:

Radiation spreading map

Catastrophe consequences

The experts say that Japan will experience the consequences of Fukushima during the next 100 years. State-of-the-art technology does not allow eliminating radiation leakages less than within 20 years. For many years radionuclides will be still present in the environment and in human organisms.

Japan has failed to recover during three years from the accident at Fukushima. The Japanese Government is concerned about the health of people who were involved in the emergency works at the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Power Plant. Doctors are going to conduct medical examination of 30 thousand people, reported the Ministry of Health of the country.

The study will consider the information about the way and conditions of living of the liquidators of the events at Fukushima-1. The experts expect to get an accurate assessment of how the accident has affected people's health. The survey is planned to have been finished by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, 19 thousand Fukushima employees have undergone medical examination. It has been found that almost 2000 of them suffered radiation exposure exceeding 100 millisieverts, which greatly increases the likelihood of oncology diseases.

According to the radiation measurements, the number of radionuclides in food and in the environment now many times exceeds those standards that were in force in Japan before the accident at Fukushima. This means that the absorbed dose has increased. It is common knowledge that when absorbed dose increases in times, various risks for a particular biological organism increase proportionally and first of all the risk of cancer.

With the exception of the direct above-level effect when a person dies in a few days from overexposure, there is an accumulated damage with a long-term outcome in all other cases. The statistics will show the excessive exposure level that causes disease only in 5-6 years, and this peak will last for 20-30 years - during the life of the whole generation that was exposed to a radiation dose.

The following figure shows the most polluted areas.

Radiation contamination mapDuring the last three years since the accident there have been a number of reports about leakage of radioactive water in various amounts and about faulty operation of the Fukushima-1 water treatment system. The biggest leakage was registered in August 2013. The Committee on Control over Nuclear-Power Engineering assigned it the third level of danger according to the INES scale.

Japan also lowered the threshold of permissible cesium content in food from 500 to 100 becquerel per kilogram. Thus, this standard has become six times more severe than the one adopted by the EU. The measure was aimed at maximum cleaning up of the environment from radiation. However, until now, radiation measurement instruments have been recording elevated levels of radiation in plants grown in Fukushima Prefecture and in fish caught in coastal waters.