16 March 2011 Australian radiation regulator advises on low radiation health risk from Fukushima plant

The Australian Uranium Association notes the following statement issued this morning by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency:

Department of Health and Ageing

and

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

This Page:

Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan

The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has caused major damage to a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan. The Japanese Government has established an evacuation zone around the affected reactors.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has been closely monitoring the situation, in particular the potential exposure to radiation of Australians in Japan.

Based on advice from the Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) reports that, although unlikely, there is a small chance of exposure to radiation, at very low levels, for people who were in the Fukushima area and an isolated area near Onagawa prior to noon on 15 March 2011. The health effects from exposure at these low levels are considered very low to negligible.

For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on current information, ARPANSA advises that since the winds are presently blowing off shore from the Fukushima area they are extremely unlikely to be contaminated and the health risks are negligible. As the situation develops, all Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to continue to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government.

Given the very low risk of exposure, ARPANSA advises that people should have no physical symptoms. If there is any doubt about contamination this contamination is easily removed by washing your body and clothes.

Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

Meetings are being held with GP representatives, the Department of Health and Ageing, and ARPANSA to discuss the provision of consistent advice to those who present with inquiries about radiation exposure.

Discussions are ongoing between jurisdictions. Further information will be provided as the situation develops.

The statement can be viewed on the ARPANSA website at: http://www.arpansa.gov.au/News/MediaReleases/mr1_150311.cfm