News / Asia

No New Measures Needed to Counter Radiation Health Risks in Japan

A staff member checks the level of radiation on an industrial product produced in Fukushima Prefecture at Fukushima Technology Center in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, April 4, 2011
A staff member checks the level of radiation on an industrial product produced in Fukushima Prefecture at Fukushima Technology Center in Koriyama, northeastern Japan, April 4, 2011

The World Health Organization says no new public health measures are needed to counter the higher levels of radiation being emitted from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.   On Tuesday, Japanese authorities raised their rating of the severity of the accident at the nuclear plant to seven.  

WHO says the severity of the releases of radioactive material at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is a cause for concern.  But, in terms of public health, it says the countermeasures taken soon after the accident in mid-March, are still good.

WHO Director of Public Health and the Environment, Maria Neira, says there is no need for new public health countermeasures.

"Those that are in place, things related to the evacuation zone, the relocation of certain populations, the measures associated with the early intake of potassium iodine pills for the population that has been identified by the Japanese government as appropriate, the issues related to food safety and controls-things like that…Those public health recommendations are still valid," she said.

The level seven rating given to the Japanese nuclear power plant is the worst on an international scale from five.  It is equal to that given in 1986 to Chernobyl, long considered the worst nuclear accident in history.  

But, Neira notes the two situations and their consequent impacts on public health are very different.  For one, she says a massive explosion triggered the Chernobyl nuclear accident.  

On the other hand, heavy emissions of radiation from the Japanese nuclear facility resulted from the plant’s cooling system, which was put out commission by the earthquake and tsunami.

Another important difference, she says, is that Chernobyl did not put in place similar life-saving countermeasures that are in operation in Japan.

Nevertheless, Neira says the severity of the Fukushima accident must not be under-estimated.  She says the situation continues to evolve and nuclear watchdogs need to constantly assess and reassess the public health consequences.

"This situation unfortunately is not yet under control.  We do not know what might happen.  So, therefore, obviously, we continue to be very vigilant.  We continue to be on alert,” Neira said.  “We never came down on our level of alert at WHO and we continue to monitor on a very careful way how the situation is moving and our assessment might change completely in one hour.  I do not know.  But, for the time being, with the current data and the current situation, this is our assessment."

On a related issue, Neira, says WHO does not see any need to impose a ban on the export and consumption of food from Japan.  She says no food is being grown in the contaminated areas.  And, she notes, Japanese authorities test food before it is exported to make sure it is safe.

She does not discount the possibility that radiation might be present in some of the food products.  But, she says the radiation is so minimal a person would have to consume large quantities of the food for a very long time for it to have a negative effect.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid