Research, Policy & Global Development

Five Years after the Fukushima Accident, a Workshop Reviews the Lessons Learned

The event was organized by the Fukushima Medical University and SHAMISEN, a European Project coordinated by CREAL, an ISGlobal-allied centre

Photo: Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA

 On March 5 to 7, the SHAMISEN workshop in Fukushima commemorated the 5th anniversary of the nuclear accident by presenting the work conducted over the last 5 years and analyzing the lessons to be learned. One major lesson is that providing the communities with an open dialogue and the capacity to evaluate their own doses is essential for them to regain control of their lives.

The workshop was organized in two parts. During two days, FMU and other organizations in Japan described what has been done in the last five years in terms of dose measurement, follow-up and support of affected populations. The participants discussed the ethical and sociological aspects of the surveillance systems, the psychological and health consequences arising from them, the social and economic disturbances induced by the accident and possible directions for the future.  On the third day, the workshop participants visited the damaged power plant, where workers are decommissioning the four damaged reactors, a task expected to last 30 to 40 years. After that, they visited the village of Suetsugi, where part of the population has returned. Discussions with the residents clearly indicated that an open dialogue with experts, the possibility of measuring food contamination and the use of individual dosimeters has allowed them to feel confident and regain control of their lives. 

Similar approaches that ensure dialogue and provide dosimetric support when requested should permit the large number of evacuees still living in the Fukushima prefecture (close to 100,000) to make decisions concerning whether or not they will return to their homes and to regain control of their lives. Helping these important actions and drawing the lessons from them is one of the main tasks of SHAMISEN.

SHAMISEN, a CREAL (ISGlobal allied centre) led multinational project brings together 19 partner institutions from Europe and Japan, as well as experts from Belarus, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the USA to critically review lessons learned from nuclear accidents. The project is funded by the European Commission through the EC OPERRA action and its main goal is to draw recommendations for immediate and long-term response to future radiation accidents and respond to the needs of affected populations while minimizing unnecessary anxiety. 

More information

Exploring Fukushima Health Effects, with E. Cardis from CREAL