IAEA Fukushima report downplays radiation risks and ignores science - Greenpeace

Press release - 1 September, 2015
Tokyo, 1 September 2015 – The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Fukushima report, released Monday, downplays the ongoing environmental and health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. According to Greenpeace Japan, the report plays into the Abe government’s agenda to normalise the ongoing nuclear disaster.

“The IAEA concludes that no discernible health consequences are expected as a result of the Fukushima disaster, but admits important uncertainties in both radiation dose and long-term effects. Nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don’t know the doses, then you can’t conclude there won’t be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan.

“Even the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has concluded that there is no safe level of radiation exposure. To intentionally subject nuclear victims to raised radiation levels is unjustified, particularly when we have the tragic reminder of Chernobyl where we saw increased rates of cancers more than five years after the crisis.”

“The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster. But there is nothing normal about the lifestyle and exposure rates that the victims are being asked to return to. What is clear is that the Japanese government has utterly failed to learn the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear accident, as is shown by the NRA ignoring outstanding safety issues in order to allow the restart of the Sendai nuclear reactor” said Ulrich, in reference to page 3 of the IAEA report.

The Japanese government is systematically lifting evacuation orders in progressively more contaminated areas, attempting to increase the public’s tolerance for what is an acceptable limit of radiation to which the Fukushima victims are exposed.  

A Greenpeace Japan investigation in July this year, for instance, revealed radioactive contamination in the forests and land of Iitate district in Fukushima prefecture so widespread and at such a high level that it will be impossible for people to safely return to their homes. Decontamination has been restricted to limited areas, and does not even attempt to address the vast expanses of contaminated forests and waterways. Given that many former residents will no longer be able to work in their previous lines of work due to the environmental contamination, it is intolerable to state that a lack of income is an acceptable “constraint” for the lives of the victims, as the IAEA report implies.

In May, Greenpeace Japan released an analysis of the IAEA summary report, which is still applicable to our preliminary reading of the full IAEA report. Greenpeace is currently reviewing the multiple technical documents and annexes released together with the Fukushima report.

Media contacts:

Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Japan,+81 80 5088 3351

Shaun Burnie, Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany, +44 7716 501238

Elena K. Johansson, Global Communications Associate, Greenpeace Japan,+81 90 6478 5408

Greenpeace International Press Desk, , phone: +31 (0)20 718 2470(available 24 hours)

Notes to the editor:

(1) “The Chernobyl Catastrophe: Consequences on Human Health” Greenpeace International. 2006.

(2) The internationally accepted model for calculating the risks of radiation exposure, the Non-Linear Threshold (LNT) model, stipulates that there is no safe level of radiation exposure. In addition, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in its 2005 report,  “. . . that while existence of a low-dose threshold does not seem to be unlikely for radiation-related cancers of certain tissues, the evidence does not favour the existence of a universal threshold. The LNT hypothesis, combined with an uncertain DDREF for extrapolation from high doses, remains a prudent basis for radiation protection at low doses and low dose rates.” See: “Low-dose Extrapolation of Radiation-related Cancer Risk.” ICRP Publication 99. Ann. ICRP 35 (4), 2005. Publication 99

(3) “The IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Accident Summary Report: A preliminary analysis.” Greenpeace Japan. 2015.