Researchers have released a preliminary report on the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the surrounding areas, following radiation levels for approximately three months following the event and surveying more than 5,000 people in the region. The report was published in the Nov. 16 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.
The researchers, led by Ikuo Kashiwakura of Hirosaki University in Japan, found only 10 people with high radiation exposure levels within 1 month after the accident, but these levels were not high enough to require decontamination. Almost all of the surveyed individuals were found to have safe contamination levels.
They also found that the exposure gradually decreased over time, and that indoor air had one tenth the radiation dose of outdoor air. These preliminary findings will be followed by further investigation of "hot spot areas" where radioactivity has accumulated, as well as long-term effects on human health.
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Monzen S, Hosoda M, Tokonami S, Osanai M, Yoshino H, et al. (2011) Individual Radiation Exposure Dose Due to Support Activities at Safe Shelters in Fukushima Prefecture. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27761. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027761