IAEA’s final report on Fukushima disaster slams safety myth, downplays thyroid cancer fears


The IAEA released its final report Aug. 31 on the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that spewed out vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar.

However, the report downplayed those fears, stating: “Because the reported thyroid doses attributable to the accident were generally low, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely.”

The 200-page report, compiled by 180 experts from 42 IAEA member countries, was released along with five technical volumes totaling 1,000 pages, and is to be presented at the IAEA’s general meeting scheduled to start on Sept. 14.

The materials are available on the IAEA’s official website at (http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/10962/The-Fukushima-Daiichi-Accident).

“A major factor that contributed to the accident was the widespread assumption in Japan that its nuclear power plants were so safe,” the IAEA stated, adding that facilities and emergency procedures to address a major accident, such as the one triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, were woefully insufficient.

The report begins with the foreword by Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA.
“There can be no grounds for complacency about nuclear safety in any country,” Amano wrote.

With regard to other causes of the Fukushima disaster, the report cited flaws in the design of nuclear facilities and emergency procedures. It also criticized the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for not having taken appropriate preparations in case outside power sources were lost for a prolonged period or anticipated accidents simultaneously occurring at multiple reactors.

The IAEA report pointed out that TEPCO did not take steps against towering tsunami inundating the plant even though it had anticipated that possibility based on a pre-disaster assessment by the government.

The final report also mentioned the effects of radioactive iodine released from the plant on the thyroid glands of children living near the nuclear facility.
But it also noted that uncertainties still linger about radiation doses children incurred immediately after the accident.

Source: Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201509010052

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