IPPNW affiliates criticize UNSCEAR report on Fukushima
Physicians from 19 IPPNW affiliates have published a critical analysis of a major new UNSCEAR report to the UN General Assembly on the health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation from the nuclear reactor disaster at Fukushima in March 2011. UNSCEAR—the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation—published Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 great east-Japan earthquake and tsunami on April 2, 2014. A summary report was sent to the UNGA in October 2013.
Alex Rosen of IPPNW-Germany, one of the lead authors of the critique, said UNSCEAR “is comprised of delegates from nuclear states with vested interests and a biased view on nuclear energy. Their report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster draws mainly on data from the nuclear industry’s publications rather than from independent sources, omits or misinterprets crucial aspects of radiation exposure and uses questionable assumptions as the basis for its calculations.
“Many of us are concerned that the apparently systematic underestimations and questionable interpretations in the report will be used by the nuclear industry to downplay the expected health effects of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. For these reasons, we have put together this comprehensive analysis.”
In a one-page summary of their critique, the authors credited UNSCEAR committee members with attempting to evaluate “the extensive and complex data concerning the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.” They argue, however, that UNSCEAR has systematically underestimated the health effects of exposure to fallout from the Fukushima reactors, in part because of reliance on flawed or misleading data from Japanese authorities and the nuclear industry, and also because of faulty assumptions about the effects of exposure to low-level ionizing radiation. They cite 10 areas of concern that are examined in further detail in the 28-page critique:
- The validity of UNSCEAR’s source term estimates is in doubt
- There are serious concerns regarding the calculations of internal radiation
- The dose assessments of the Fukushima workers cannot be relied upon
- The UNSCEAR report ignores the effects of fallout on the non-human biota
- The special vulnerability of the embryo to radiation is not taken into account
- Non-cancer diseases and hereditary effects were ignored by UNSCEAR
- Comparisons of nuclear fallout with background radiation are misleading
- UNSCEAR’S interpretations of the findings are questionable
- The protective measures taken by the authorities are misrepresented
- Conclusions from collective dose estimations are not presented