Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Health Effects

The Science Teacher, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Health Effects


Radiation from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may eventually cause anywhere from 15 to 1,300 deaths and from 24 to 2,500 cases of cancer, mostly in Japan, Stanford re-searchers have calculated. The estimates contradict previous claims that the radioactive release would likely cause no severe health effects.

The numbers are in addition to the roughly 600 deaths caused by the evacuation of the area surrounding the nuclear plant directly after the March 2011 earth-quake, tsunami, and meltdown.

Recent PhD graduate John Ten Hoeve and Stanford civil engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson published their findings in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown was the most extensive nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Radiation release critically contaminated a "dead zone" of several hundred square kilometers around the plant, and low levels of radioactive material were found as far away as North America and Europe.

But most of the radioactivity was dumped in the Pacific--only 19 per-cent of the released material was deposited over land--keeping the exposed population relatively small. …

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