World Health Organisation Downplays Health Impacts of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International radiation expert, rianne.teule@greenpeace.org, +31 6 2883 3207

Aaron Gray-Block, Greenpeace International media relations, aaron.gray-block@greenpeace.org, +31 6 4616 2026
Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 20 7182470

World Health Organisation Downplays Health Impacts of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

AMSTERDAM - Greenpeace today criticised the World Health Organisation for releasing a flawed new report that hides crucial information on the health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“The WHO report shamelessly downplays the impact of early radioactive releases from the Fukushima disaster on people inside the 20 km evacuation zone who were not able to leave the area quickly,” said Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International nuclear radiation expert. 



“The WHO should have estimated the radiation exposure of these people to give a more accurate picture of the potential long-term impacts of Fukushima. The WHO report is clearly a political statement to protect the nuclear industry and not a scientific one with people’s health in mind.”

The people inside the 20 km zone have possibly been exposed to significant radiation doses of hundreds of mSv, according to the work of German nuclear expert Oda Becker. She used modelling based on the data from Fukushima plant operator TEPCO on radioactive releases to calculate potential doses for people 10, 15, 20 and 40 km from the reactors.

The WHO report and its PR spin shockingly downplay the likelihood that thousands of people are at risk of cancer from the Fukushima disaster. They hide the cancer impacts by emphasising small percentage increases in cancers. Those small percentages actually translate into thousands of people being at risk.



“The WHO’s flawed report leaves its job half done,” said Teule. “The WHO and other organisations must stop downplaying and hiding the impact of the Fukushima disaster and call for more emphasis on protecting the millions of people still living in contaminated areas.”

The WHO only releases reports on the impact of radiation releases on a population with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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