U.N. panel sees no discernible rise in cancer from Fukushima nuke mishap

10 February 2016

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) briefed residents in Fukushima Prefecture at a meeting in Iwaki city on Feb. 9 on its findings from a follow-up to its earlier report on the effects of radiation exposure caused by the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The committee said in the report published in 2013 that “no discernible increase” is expected in cancer rates among local people. In its follow-up report in October last year, the U.N. panel said "none" of the new information appraised after the initial report “materially affected the main findings in, or challenged the major assumptions of, the 2013 Fukushima report."

The briefing session was attended by about 90 people, including teachers and medical staff from within the northeastern Japanese prefecture. Representing the committee were Malcolm Crick, UNSCEAR secretary, and two expert members, Mikhail Balonov and Gillian Hirth. Crick told the gathering that the committee will continue the probe into the effects of radiation exposure to make whatever contribution it can to Fukushima.

Some participants posed questions on thyroid cancer and the like. The committee cited the findings of a health survey among local people conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government that found the percentage of those diagnosed as having thyroid cancer was almost equal to proportions in similar surveys taken in the three other prefectures of Aomori, Yamanashi and Nagasaki.

(Translated by Kyodo News)