Portions of the new IAEA report on Fukushima have been criticized by the media and roundly slammed by Greenpeace. Much of the dispute is around a contradictory statement about the potential thyroid cancers in evacuees. IAEA admits that the exposure data being used is limited and unclear but went on to give a solid prediction there would be no thyroid cancers from Fukushima related exposures.
UNSCEAR and IAEA have been relying on outdated estimates done by the Fukushima Health Survey. The Fukushima Health Survey adopted a dose estimate scheme created by NIRS. There are a number of problems with this dose estimate scheme.
- The NIRS dose estimate is for external exposure only. The critical portion of any exposure related to thyroid cancer is the internal exposure. Usually by the inhalation or ingestion of iodine 131.
- There are no actual radiation readings used for estimates made for exposures during the first three days of the accident. These first three days are also when some of the largest exposures would have happened
- NIRS uses the source term radiation estimate provided by the Japanese government. This estimate has been proven to be extremely low by later studies including one that used CTBTO radiation monitors to back track estimate the levels of radiation released from the plant.
- NIRS assumed most residents evacuated before radiation levels rose, for many this was not the case as not all residents evacuated early in the disaster
- NIRS admits there is considerable uncertainty in their estimates and that recalculations may be in order if new data shows the source term or radiation levels were higher. This has never been done
This has been a central problem with all of the official determinations on Fukushima. This is a clear case of “garbage in garbage out“. UNSCEAR and IAEA are basing all of their claims about harm to human health off of an admittedly flawed and limited study that underestimated the exposure doses to the public.
Hirosaki University researchers embarked on their own research into radiation exposures in 2011 and found levels much higher than what the government was claiming. The Hirosaki University data was gathered in April of 2011 by doing actual scans of evacuees’s thyroids (internal exposure) then back estimating the original exposure. This is a much more accurate way to determine an exposure. Their research was swiftly terminated under considerable government pressure.
Dr. Ian Fairlie explains why the ongoing health damage and death toll related to Fukushima may be much higher than admitted by the government and it may get worse.
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