The Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP accident contaminated the soil of densely-populated regions in Fukushima Prefecture with radioactive cesium, which poses significant risks of internal and external exposure to the residents. If we apply the knowledge of post-Chernobyl accident studies, internal exposures in excess of a few mSv/y would be expected to be frequent in Fukushima.
Extensive whole-body-counter surveys (n = 32,811) carried out at the Hirata Central Hospital between October, 2011 and November, 2012, however show that the internal exposure levels of residents are much lower than estimated. In particular, the first sampling-bias-free assessment of the internal exposure of children in the town of Miharu, Fukushima, shows that the 137Cs body burdens of all children (n = 1,383, ages 6–15, covering 95% of children enrolled in town-operated schools) were below the detection limit of 300 Bq/body in the fall of 2012. These results are not conclusive for the prefecture as a whole, but are consistent with results obtained from other municipalities in the prefecture, and with prefectural data.
(Communicated by Toshimitsu YAMAZAKI, M.J.A.)
2013 The Japan Academy