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WHO Report: Most Fukushima Radiation Doses Below Cancer-Causing Levels

  • VOA News

Police officers wearing face masks inspect vehicles at the entrance of a 20km no-entry zone, on the outskirts of Hirono town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 2012. (file photo)

Police officers wearing face masks inspect vehicles at the entrance of a 20km no-entry zone, on the outskirts of Hirono town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 2012. (file photo)

The World Health Organization [WHO] says radiation exposure due to last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster is below cancer-causing levels in most of Japan.

A WHO preliminary report issued Wednesday also indicates levels in Japan's neighbors are similar to normal background radiation.

The U.N. health organization estimate also says radiation doses from the Fukushima accident in the rest of the world are below, and often far below, the internationally recognized levels regarded as "very small." However, some minor radiation exposure through food occurred.

Inside Japan, WHO says the nuclear disaster may have exposed people in at least two areas of Fukushima prefecture to doses of radiation above cancer-causing levels.

The preliminary report is the agency's first global estimate of radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that knocked out the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Meltdowns of three nuclear reactors led to widespread radiation leaks.

Japan's government says the reactors are now stable, but it will take up to 40 years to safely decommission the Fukushima nuclear facility, which is located on the northeastern coast of the Japanese mainland.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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