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Arrangements need to be in place to assist decision makers, the public and others (e.g. medical staff) to gain an understanding of radiological health hazards in a nuclear emergency in order to make informed decisions on protective actions. Arrangements also need to be in place to address public concerns locally, nationally and internationally.
Public concerns need to be effectively addressed in a nuclear emergency. This includes the means to relate measurable quantities (e.g. dose rates) and projected radiation doses to radiological health hazards in a manner that allows decision makers (and the public) to make informed decisions concerning protective actions. Addressing public concerns contributes to mitigating both the radiological and the non-radiological consequences of the emergency. International concerns could be addressed, in part, by means of certification systems to demonstrate that tradable goods meet international standards and to reassure importing States and the public.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=111 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Arrangements need to be developed at the preparedness stage for termination of protective actions and other response actions, and for transition to the recovery phase.
At the preparedness stage, there is a need to plan for the transition from the emergency phase to the long term recovery phase and for resumption of normal social and economic activities. The arrangements need to: (1) establish formal processes to decide on the termination of protective actions and other response actions; (2) clearly allocate responsibilities; (3) establish criteria for the termination of protective actions and other response actions; and (4) provide a strategy and process for consulting the public.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=111 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Timely analysis of an emergency and the response to it, drawing lessons and identifying possible improvements, enhances emergency arrangements.
Such an analysis needs to include a review of all relevant arrangements, including national laws and regulations, allocation of authorities and responsibilities, emergency response plans and procedures, facilities, equipment, training and exercises. Analysis provides a basis for revision of the arrangements, as necessary. The adequacy of revised emergency arrangements needs to be demonstrated through exercises.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=111 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
 
The implementation of international arrangements for notification and assistance needs to be strengthened.
Awareness of international arrangements for notification and assistance in a nuclear or radiological emergency, as well as existing operational mechanisms, needs to be increased, including mechanisms and procedures for notification and information exchange, for requesting and providing international assistance, etc. There is a need for enhanced training and exercises on the operational aspects of the Early Notification Convention and the Assistance Convention. Participation in existing mechanisms for the provision of international assistance under the Assistance Convention needs to be an integral part of national emergency preparedness efforts. Arrangements need to be in place at the preparedness stage for requesting and receiving assistance (on the basis of bilateral agreements or under the Assistance Convention) in a nuclear or radiological emergency. Lists of officially designated contact points, as required under the Early Notification Convention and the Assistance Convention, need to be continuously updated and prepared for immediate requests for information from the IAEA. Application of the IAEA safety standards on emergency preparedness and response at the national level would improve preparedness and response, facilitate communication in an emergency and contribute to the harmonization of national criteria for protective actions and other response actions.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=111 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
There is a need to improve consultation and sharing of information among States on protective actions and other response actions.
Consultation and sharing of information on protective actions and other response actions among States in an emergency helps to ensure that actions are taken consistently. In addition, a clear and understandable explanation of the technical basis for decisions on protective actions and other response action is crucial in order to increase public understanding and acceptance at both the national and international levels.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=112 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
In case of an accidental release of radioactive substances to the environment, the prompt quantification and characterization of the amount and composition of the release is needed. For significant releases, a comprehensive and coordinated programme of long term environmental monitoring is necessary to determine the nature and extent of the radiological impact on the environment at the local, regional and global levels.
The quantification and characterization of the source term of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP proved to be difficult. Prompt monitoring of the environment provides confirmation of the levels of radionuclides and establishes the initial basis for protecting people. The results can be used to inform the public and to develop strategies for response and recovery activities. It is also important to continue environmental monitoring to verify that there are no further significant releases of radionuclides and to provide information to decision makers and other stakeholders on the possible redistribution of radionuclides in the environment over time.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=150 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Relevant international bodies need to develop explanations of the principles and criteria for radiation protection that are understandable for non-specialists in order to make their application clearer for decision makers and the public. As some protracted protection measures were disruptive for the affected people, a better communication strategy is needed to convey the justification for such measures and actions to all stakeholders, including the public.
There is a recognized need for simple explanations of a number of radiation protection issues, including: • Differences between the concepts of dose limits and reference levels and the associated rationale; • Criteria for the justification of protective measures and actions aimed at averting radiation doses in the long term, in particular when they involve significant disruptions to normal life; • Specific situations relating to the radiation protection of workers in an emergency. The principles of radiation protection are based not solely on science, but also on value judgements based on ethical principles. In some circumstances, protective measures and actions involve protracted social disruption. Under these circumstances, the potential benefit from avoiding radiation doses must outweigh the individual and social detriment caused by the protective measures and actions themselves. It is important to explain to stakeholders the justification for long-standing radiation protection measures and actions.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=150 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Conservative decisions related to specific activity and activity concentrations in consumer products and deposition activity led to extended restrictions and associated difficulties. In a prolonged exposure situation, consistency among international standards, and between international and national standards, is beneficial, particularly those associated with drinking water, food, non-edible consumer products and deposition activity on land.
The Japanese authorities established measures for controlling the presence of radioactive substances in consumer products, which were generally more stringent than the available international guidance. The current international system for controlling radioactivity in consumer products is governed by distinct guidance, for example the Codex Alimentarius for food (including bottled water) in international trade, IAEA safety standards for food and drinking water for use in an emergency, WHO guidelines for drinking water in existing exposure situations and IAEA safety standards for non-edible products for exemption purposes. There is a need for consistency in the international standards for acceptable levels of radioactivity in products for public consumption in order to facilitate their application by regulatory bodies and their understanding by the public. National standards need to be in line with international standards, where this is feasible. Moreover, there is a need for criteria for dealing with the protracted presence of radionuclides on land.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=150 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Personal radiation monitoring of representative groups of members of the public provides invaluable information for reliable estimates of radiation doses and needs to be used together with environmental measurements and appropriate dose estimation models for assessing public dose.
The early estimation of doses was based on environmental measures and modelling, resulting in some conservative assumptions on doses incurred and projected. Personal monitoring of 131I in the thyroids of children needs to be undertaken as soon as possible following radioiodine releases to the environment, owing to the short half-life of this radionuclide. Personal monitoring of external radiation and the internal presence of the longer lived radionuclides (e.g. 137Cs) needs to be undertaken as soon as feasible and to continue over time, as appropriate. In the absence of personal radiation measurements, modelling of environmental and ambient data may be needed to estimate the radiation doses incurred by individuals. In these cases, the uncertainties associated with the assumptions used in the models need to be clearly explained, particularly if the results are being used to inform decision making on protective measures and actions or to estimate the potential for radiation induced health effects.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=151 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
While dairy products were not the main pathway for the ingestion of radioiodine in Japan, it is clear that the most important method of limiting thyroid doses, especially to children, is to restrict the consumption of fresh milk from grazing cows.
The estimates of thyroid doses to children following the accident were low. This was the result of a combination of factors, including the time of year (before the growing season), agricultural practices in Japan, low consumption of cow’s milk by infants and the controls on milk consumption that were immediately introduced. These factors contributed to the low level of intake of 131I.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=151 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
A robust system is necessary for monitoring and recording occupational radiation doses, via all relevant pathways, particularly those due to internal exposure that may be incurred by workers during severe accident management activities. It is essential that suitable and sufficient personal protective equipment be available for limiting the exposure of workers during emergency response activities and that workers be sufficiently trained in its use.
Early and continued direct measurements of the radiation exposure and the levels of radionuclides incorporated by emergency workers are the most valuable approach to obtaining information for estimating radiation risks and potential health effects and to optimizing protection. There is a need to monitor and register occupational radiation doses through a robust system of personal dosimeters and measurements. Monitoring of 131I in the thyroid needs to be undertaken as soon as possible. Immediately following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the provision of personal protective equipment for restricting the exposure of workers and monitoring was difficult.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=151 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
The risks of radiation exposure and the attribution of health effects to radiation need to be clearly presented to stakeholders, making it unambiguous that any increases in the occurrence of health effects in populations are not attributable to exposure to radiation if levels of exposure are similar to the global average background levels of radiation.
In the case of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, doses to members of the public were low and comparable with typical global average background doses. There is a need to clearly inform the public, particularly the people affected, that no discernible increased incidence of radiation related health effects is expected among exposed members of the public and their descendants as a result of the accident. An understanding of radiation and its possible health effects is important for all those involved in an emergency, in particular for physicians, nurses, radiation technologists and medical first responders. This needs to be ensured through appropriate education and training of medical professionals in the topics of radioactivity, radiation and health effects associated with radiation exposure.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=151 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
fter a nuclear accident, health surveys are very important and useful, but should not be interpreted as epidemiological studies. The results of such health surveys are intended to provide information to support medical assistance to the affected population.
The Fukushima Health Management Survey provides valuable health information for the local community, helping to ensure that any health effects are detected quickly, and that appropriate actions are taken to protect the health of the population. The overall results of health checks may provide important information, but they should not be misinterpreted as the results of an epidemiological assessment.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=152 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
There is a need for radiological protection guidance to address the psychological consequences to members of the affected populations in the aftermath of radiological accidents. A Task Group of the ICRP has recommended that “strategies for mitigating the serious psychological consequences arising from radiological accidents be sought”.
Psychological conditions have been reported as a consequence of the accident. This has been a repeated issue in the aftermath of accidents involving radiation exposure. In spite of their importance, these consequences have not been recognized in international recommendations and standards on radiological protection.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=152 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Factual information on radiation effects needs to be communicated in an understandable and timely manner to individuals in affected areas in order to enhance their understanding of protection strategies, to alleviate their concerns and support their own protection initiatives.
Arrangements at the national and local level need to be put in place to share information in an understandable manner with the public who may be affected by accidents with radiological consequences. The arrangements need to allow for person to person dialogue so that individuals can seek clarifications and express their concerns. These arrangements will require the concerted efforts of the relevant authorities, experts and professionals in supporting and advising the affected individuals and communities. Sharing information is important when conveying decisions to protect these individuals, including the support of their own initiatives.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=152 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
During any emergency phase, the focus has to be on protecting people. Doses to the biota cannot be controlled and could be potentially significant on an individual basis. Knowledge of the impacts of radiation exposure on non-human biota needs to be strengthened by improving the assessment methodology and understanding of radiation induced effects on biota populations and ecosystems. Following a large release of radionuclides to the environment, an integrated perspective needs to be adopted to ensure sustainability of agriculture, forestry, fishery and tourism, and of the use of natural resources.
It may be difficult to substantially reduce doses to non-human biota because of the impracticability of introducing countermeasures. Impact assessments for plants and animals in the aftermath of accidents such as that at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP require consideration of numerous potential stressors — radiation exposure being one of many. Consideration also needs to be given to the potential for the buildup and accumulation of long lived radionuclides in the environment and how this might affect plants and animals over multiple generations.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=152 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Pre-accident planning for post-accident recovery is necessary to improve decision making under pressure in the immediate post-accident situation. National strategies and measures for post-accident recovery need to be prepared in advance in order to enable an effective and appropriate overall recovery programme to be put in place in case of a nuclear accident. These strategies and measures need to include the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework; generic remediation strategies and criteria for residual radiation doses and contamination levels; a plan for stabilization and decommissioning of damaged nuclear facilities; and a generic strategy for managing large quantities of contaminated material and radioactive waste.
These strategies and measures need to include: • The establishment of a legal and regulatory framework that specifies the roles and responsibilities of the various institutions to be involved. This framework needs to address off-site remediation, on-site stabilization and preparations for decommissioning, management of contaminated material and radioactive waste, and community revitalization and stakeholder engagement. • Generic remediation strategies and criteria (reference and derived action levels) for residual radiation doses and contamination levels. • A plan for the stabilization of conditions on the site of a damaged nuclear facility and preparations for its decommissioning. • Development of a generic strategy for managing large quantities of contaminated material and radioactive waste, supported by generic safety assessments for storage and disposal facilities. • Sufficient flexibility to ensure that the management of post-accident conditions can be adapted in response to changing conditions and acquired information and experience.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=174 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Remediation strategies need to take account of the effectiveness and feasibility of individual measures and the amount of contaminated material that will be generated in the remediation process.
Having established reference levels for residual radiation doses and contamination levels, it is essential to control carefully the amount of contaminated material generated by implementing the remediation strategy in order to minimize the amount of waste to be managed. The absence of preparations for recovery from a nuclear accident in Japan meant that, initially, large volumes of potentially contaminated material were generated. As time elapsed and planning developed, remediation actions were optimized, leading to improved control of the amount of waste to be managed. Pilot projects were useful in determining both the effectiveness of particular remediation techniques and the amount of waste generated by particular techniques. Pilot projects also contributed to establishing procedures for the radiation protection of workers.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=175 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
As part of the remediation strategy, the implementation of rigorous testing of and controls on food is necessary to prevent or minimize ingestion doses.
The systematic implementation of rigorous testing of and controls on food after the accident demonstrated that ingestion doses can be kept at low levels. To establish confidence in locally produced food, local monitoring stations were set up to allow people in affected areas to bring food to be measured. This control of ingestion doses simplified the recovery by allowing remediation to focus on techniques that reduce external doses.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=175 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
Further international guidance is needed on the practical application of safety standards for radiation protection in post-accident recovery situations.
Further practical guidance is needed on the application of the IAEA safety standards in existing exposure situations. The reference levels adopted for the early post-accident years need to be periodically reviewed and modified, as appropriate, in response to the changing radiological conditions. The guidance needs to include a methodology for the selection of case and site specific reference levels, in terms of dose and derived quantities, as well as mechanisms to integrate technical and scientific advice with other socially relevant factors to establish a coherent, transparent and collectively accepted decision making process.
Reference Document: Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Link to Reference Document: <a href=http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf#page=175 target='_blank' alt='Open site in new window'><img src='/FukushimaLessonsLearned/Images1/Thumbnails/external-link-xxl.gif' style='height:25px; width:25px;' /></a>
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