Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fukushima Prefecture asked university to stop radiation dose tests soon after disaster

The Fukushima Prefectural Government asked a research team from Hirosaki University to stop conducting internal radiation exposure tests on prefectural residents after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the grounds that the tests were "stirring uneasiness," it has been learned.

A prefectural government official said the assertion couldn't be confirmed, but commented, "At the time, research was being conducted by various sources, and we received complaints that it was 'stirring uneasiness.' We told research organizations to be 'cautious' (with investigations), and I think Hirosaki University was one of those organizations."

The university's research team has questioned the prefecture's actions.

"If proper tests had been carried out, then we could have accurately evaluated the effects of the nuclear crisis, and residents would have felt more at ease," a member of the university's research team commented.

Shinji Tokonami, a professor at Hirosaki University's Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, and other research team members measured the level of radioactive iodine-131 in the thyroid glands of 62 people between April 12 and 16 last year, soon after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, with the permission of residents and local bodies. At the time, 17 of the people were residing in the Tsushima district of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, which was later designated as a "planned evacuation zone" due to the detection of high levels of radiation. The remaining 45 people had evacuated from Minamisoma city to Fukushima city. Three of the subjects were tested twice. Read More