Former Adviser to PM Kan Accuses Government Of Aggravating Radiation Exposure Of Local Residents, Expects Thyroid Cancer To Develop Among Children In Fukushima And Neighboring Prefectures

Former adviser says government worsened radiation exposure (Monsters And Critics/DPA, June 11, 2011):

Tokyo – A former adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan accused the government of aggravating the radiation exposure of local residents during the nuclear crisis, news reports said Saturday.

Toshiso Kosako, professor of radiation safety at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, said the government had failed to make efficient use of forecasts on radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the Kyodo News agency reported.

The plant was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and has leaked radioactive substances ever since.

In a report submitted just before he abruptly resigned as an adviser in late April, Kosako highlighted the impromptu handling of the crisis in its early stages and criticized a lack of leadership at the premier’s office and uncooperative attitude of the Nuclear Safety Commission, Kyodo said.

Kosako said the government had delayed the release of forecasts on the spread of radiation compiled by the Nuclear Safety Technology Center’s computer system, Kyodo said, citing the April 27 report.

He urged the government to conduct an epidemiological study in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures as thyroid cancer was expected to develop among children.

Kyodo said Kosako’s team gave more than 60 pieces of technical advice but the government failed to make use of most of them promptly and effectively.

In a report submitted Tuesday to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the government said nearly 200,000 people in Fukushima prefecture had undergone tests and had not been diagnosed with any health problems related to the accident.

Only low-level radioactivity was found in thyroid examinations of around 1,000 local children, the government said.

Meanwhile, two workers of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were confirmed to have received radiation doses more than twice the limit and the government’s nuclear agency reproached the plant operator over the case.

The two workers did not remember whether they had worn masks soon after an explosion at reactor 3 on March 14, Junichi Matsumoto, a spokesman for TEPCO said.

Another male worker might have been exposed to radiation above the limit, the operator said.

The nuclear agency ordered TEPCO to find out how the two workers’ radiation exposure occurred and report preventive measures.

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