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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid