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Friday, 31 May 2013

Should we be relieved, or is this another 'calmative' report?

No rise in cancer seen from Fukushima nuclear disaster: U.N.

The evacuation of tens of thousands of people helped prevent rising cancer rates and other health problems after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, the world’s worst in 25 years, U.N. scientists said on Friday.

[how has this done this]?

Radiation exposure following the reactor meltdowns more than two years ago did not cause any immediate health effects, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said after its annual meeting.

[immediate.. that's hardly scientific, particularly after the results from Chernobyl took many years]

That would be in contrast to Chernobyl, the 1986 Soviet reactor explosion which sent radioactive dust across much of Europe and is believed to have caused thyroid cancer in some children.

A magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, killed nearly 19,000 people and devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spewing radiation and forcing about 160,000 people to flee their homes.

Actions to protect inhabitants in the area, including evacuation and sheltering, significantly reduced the exposure to radioactive substances, the scientific body said after the session to prepare a report for the U.N. General Assembly.

[this is true enough, but hardly met with known bench marks, albeit the JP government considered evacuating Tokyo, based on the evidence but did not do so due to panic]

“These measures reduced the potential exposure by up to a factor of 10,” said senior UNSCEAR member Wolfgang Weiss.

[ again where is the concrete data?]

“If that had not been the case, we might have seen the cancer rates rising and other health problems emerging over the next several decades,” he said in a statement.

 [not true, cancer is NOT an immediate after affect]

Weiss, who chairs work on UNSCEAR’s Fukushima report, told reporters that dose levels were “so low that we don’t expect to see any increase in cancer in the future in the population.”

 [expect, another dubious and unscietific response]

UNSCEAR’s findings appeared to differ somewhat from a World Health Organization (WHO) report published in February which said people in the area worst affected have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers.

Weiss suggested the UNSCEAR study, carried out by 80 experts and with the involvement of five international organisations including the United Nations health agency, was based on information covering a longer period after the accident.

[They did this in secret? where is the analysis]

UNSCEAR’s 27 member states scrutinised the draft during this week’s session in Vienna, it said, adding it would be the most comprehensive scientific analysis of the issue so far.
While a few received very high doses, no radiation-related deaths or acute effects were observed among nearly 25,000 workers - including employees of the operator Tokyo Electric Power Co -  involved at the accident site, it said.

Highlighting the differences between Chernobyl and Fukushima, Weiss said people close to the then Soviet plant were exposed to radioactive iodine that contaminated milk.
The thyroid - a gland in the neck that produces hormones that regulate vital body functions - is the most exposed organ as radioactive iodine concentrates there. Children are deemed especially vulnerable.

[The milk was the culprit]
“In Chernobyl, many children used milk which had high iodine concentrations, resulting in high thyroid doses, resulting in an increase of thyroid cancer,” Weiss said, adding that the doses in Japan were “much, much lower.” 
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. 

[end snip]

Dubious reporting with no solid data.. dubious to say the least.

Here (albeit a little late), is the Wiki on the UN's reporting agency....
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