Fukushima. 66,000 people in Japan will develop cancer due to radiation

Secondo due Ong di medici e scienziati americani, le radiazioni di Fukushima causeranno decine di migliaia di malati di cancro in più rispetto al normale.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster could cause 10,000 to 60,000 excess cancer cases among Japanese population, as predicted by US scientific associations PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility) and IPNNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), both openly against nuclear energy.


In a report titled Five Years Living with Fukushima, published in occasion of the 5th anniversary of the disaster, the organisations explain that their estimates are based on available scientific and medical data relating to children, workers who participated in rescue and recovery operations, and population in the rest of Japan.


Over 100 children in Fukushima already diagnosed with cancer

According to the paper, 116 children in Fukushima Prefecture have already been diagnosed with aggressive thyroid cancer, while “about one case per year would normally be expected”. More than 25,000 clean-up and rescue workers received the highest radiation dose and risked their health, while preventing a deterioration of the situation at the power plant site.


Threats have been confirmed also by the NGO Green Cross: according to nuclear physicist Stephen Robinson, “In the city of Tomioka, radiations are 35 times the international dose limit for the population, set by the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA). But even outside the restricted area, for example in Koriyama, dose rates were measured up to 20 times higher”.


Fukushima zona evacuata
Evacuated house © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

TEPCO: consequences on workers

According to AFP, data provided by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) itself, which runs the nuclear power plant, show that about a hundred workers are likely to develop cancer due to excessive radiation, and fifty per cent of them will be fatal. However, PSR and IPNN claim these figures are optimistic, since estimates don’t include temporary workers.


As for Japan’s population in general, the impact on the intake of contaminated food and water should be taken into consideration. As a result, “calculations of increased cancer cases overall in Japan range from 9,600 to 66,000 depending on the dose estimates,” the study shows.


Fukushima Green Cross
The entrace of the evacuated area arounf Fukushima power plant, Japan ©Franck Vogel

 “The government conceals the effects of the disaster”

Study’s co-author Catherine Thomasson explains that “the health legacy of Fukushima will haunt Japan for years to come”. Despite that, “the pro-nuclear Japanese government and the country’s influential nuclear lobby are doing everything in their power to play down and conceal the effects of the disaster”. Alex Rosen, pediatrician and IPPNW vice-chair, said: “One is of course reminded of the tobacco lobby disputing the notion that the horrific effects of its products have no adverse health impacts. This self-serving falsehood echoed for decades was made possible simply because the long-term health effects of smoking were not immediately observable”.


For this reason, Green Cross urged Tokyo’s government not to revoke evacuation measures in contaminated areas and, on the contrary, to extend them, in order to “protect 32 million citizens today exposed to radiation caused by the accident”.

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