FAQs: Japan nuclear concerns /current risk

Published on WHO (World Health Org), March 25, 2011.

Q.: What is the current risk of radiation-related health problems in Japan for those residing near the reactor in comparison to those in other parts of Japan?

  • A.: Radiation-related health consequences will depend on exposure, which is dependant on several things, including: the amount and type of radiation released from the reactor; weather conditions, such as wind and rain; a person’s proximity to the plant; and the amount of time spent in irradiated areas.
  • The Government of Japan’s recent actions in response to events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are in line with the existing recommendations for radiation exposure. The Government has evacuated individuals who were living within a 20-kilometre radius around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Those living between 20 km and 30 km from the plant are being asked to shelter indoors. People living farther away are at lower risk than those who live nearby.
  • As and if the situation changes, the Government of Japan may change their advice to the public; WHO is following the situation closely.  

Q.: Is there a risk of radioactive exposure from food contamination?

  • A.: Yes, there is a risk of exposure as a result of contamination in food.
  • However, contaminated food would have to be consumed over prolonged periods to represent a risk to human health.
  • The presence of radioactivity in some vegetables and milk has been confirmed and some of the initial food monitoring results show radioactive iodine detected in concentrations above Japanese regulatory limits. Radioactive caesium has also been detected.
  • Local government authorities have advised residents to avoid these food and have implemented measures to prevent their sale and distribution.

(next page on the website):
Q.: What is ionizing radiation?

  • A.: When certain atoms disintegrate, they release a type of energy called ionizing radiation. This energy can travel as either electromagnetic waves (i.e. gamma or X-rays) or as particles (i.e. alpha, beta or neutrons).
  • The atoms that emit radiation are called radionuclides; e.g., radioactive iodine, caesium, and plutonium.
  • Ionizing radiation is an essential tool for diagnosis and treatment in medicine, that must be used with rigorous attention to safety.

… and so on, over actually 10 pages … (full long text).

Link: WHO’s Global health action in crises network.

re-link: … Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming; it is not clean, it is not green; it is not safe; and it is not renewable. It is instead a destroyer of worlds. It is time the global community repudiated it – however economically painful in the short term that taking such a step would be … (full text of Dr. Helen Caldicott’s Fukushima statement Destroyer of Worlds, on her website, March 16, 2011).

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