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Child thyroid cancer unlikely to rise in Fukushima but extent of radiation exposure unclear: IAEA

Reuters

An increase in thyroid cancer among children is unlikely after the disaster at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear plant four years ago, but it remains unclear exactly how much radiation children in the vicinity were exposed to, International Atomic Energy Agency said in a new report.

Increased thyroid cancer is generally the leading health concern after exposure to nuclear radiation, but that may not be the case after the three reactor meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant in March 2011, the Vienna-based watchdog said in the report, which was released Monday.

“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 report says.

“However, uncertainties remain concerning the thyroid equivalent doses incurred by children immediately after the accident,” it adds.

Those uncertainties are largely due to a lack of reliable personal radiation monitoring data immediately after the disaster started, when radioactive iodine and other radioactive materials were spewed into the environment, the report says.

The earthquake and following tsunami made emergency response measures difficult, if not impossible, to implement.

Adding to the uncertainty was the fact that the administration of “stable iodine” to protect children’s thyroid glands was not done uniformly at the time, “primarily due to the lack of detailed arrangements,” the report says.

Detailed screening of children’s thyroid glands is being undertaken now in Japan as part of a survey aimed at the early detection and treatment of diseases.

The report highlights areas where improvements are needed in light of the Fukushima catastrophe. The IAEA said more sustainable solutions are needed for the management of highly radioactive water and radioactive waste being collected at the plant, “including the possible resumption of controlled discharge into the sea.”

The reports adds that countries should prepare detailed scenarios and train workers for coping with worst-case natural disasters, including situations where more than one disaster is combined with a nuclear accident. They should also plan for cleanup operations in the wake of such incidents.

The report calls for strengthened international cooperation in the event of such accidents.

  • robrob

    As Geraldine Thomas keeps repeating ‘the fear of radiation is far more harmful than the actual radiation’. Trust her! She is the expert and has all the data.
    The fact that the North Pacific Ocean is now in toxic shock and it’s contents is washing up in America, trees are now showing full on genetic instability causing them to mutate in Japan and the acceptable levels of man made radionuclides in tap water continues to be raised to ‘WOW’ amounts by health Canada, means nothing really. Remember now boys and girls…NO ONE has died because of Fukusha radiation and no one will! (Wade Allison said in total ‘one person will die’..but he was being overly accurate as he was on Camera and all that!)

    • Starviking

      The fact that the North Pacific Ocean is now in toxic shock and it’s
      contents is washing up in America

      Nope.

      trees are now showing full on genetic
      instability causing them to mutate in Japan

      Some trees – in the most contaminated area – are showing a genetic mutation. The scientists responsible for the study do not definitively link it to radiation.

      and the acceptable levels
      of man made radionuclides in tap water continues to be raised to ‘WOW’
      amounts by health Canada

      Got a reference for that?

  • rickokona

    More propaganda from the IAEA and they have the audacity to call it science. As a scientist it is blasphemy to me. We forget science is a method and as such very easy to manipulate to suit. There are a number of PR firms that specialize in this charade these days. To the public it appears to be scientific when its just technical propaganda.

    • Starviking

      As a scientist, I would like to hear your exact points of contention.

      • rickokona

        What training, and what experience and who pays you.

      • Starviking

        And what has that got to do with your points of contention?

        …and who pays you.

        Starting with the shill gambit? Sheesh!

    • Michael Mann

      Yes, one that the anti-nuclear activists use all the time to muddy the waters. The media has a habit of giving equal weight or even more weight to the antinuclear spin, both because they don’t know any better and because it sells more advertising……..

    • Michael Mann

      Yes, one that the anti-nuclear activists use all the time to muddy the waters. The media has a habit of giving equal weight or even more weight to the antinuclear spin, both because they don’t know any better and because it sells more advertising……..

  • Sam Gilman

    This is generally good news, the uncertainties noted notwithstanding. The fear created following Fukushima has itself been a major damaging factor in human health.

    At least, it’s good news to normal people who don’t like the idea of children getting thyroid cancer, or of panicked, stressed parents. There are unfortunately also those who see this news as offensively disappointing. They have put great emotional investment into the idea that lots of children will get cancer, and they’re in no mood to let that cherished vision go. You can see a few of them posting here, claiming all manner of wild things.

    It would be tempting to dismiss them as crazy, but one has also to ask about the responsibility of certain groups and media outlets who have been drip-feeding them lurid but unfounded horror stories.