Human rights experts call for revisions to UN report on Fukushima radiation
Several human rights experts are disagreeing with the report set to be released by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) after their investigation into the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The criticism stems from the report’s seeming lack of concern over the effects of radiation on the general public in Japan, saying that “no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected.”
U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover says that he strongly disagrees with the report’s conclusion that “there is nothing to worry about” in terms of those who were exposed to radiation after three of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors suffered a meltdown at the height of the disasters of March 2011. Grover visited Japan last year and made his own report on the human rights perspective of the disaster. He says there is no adequate data on radioactive exposure to say that there will be no long-term harmful effects even in low dose cases. He emphasized that the affected communities, most of whom have still not been able to return to their hometowns, have to be involved in the decision-making process and that this is a “core obligation” of the government.
Human rights experts rap U.N. report on Fukushima radiation
NEW YORK – Human rights experts, including a U.N. special rapporteur, are criticizing a U.N. scientific report dismissing concerns about the effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the Japanese public.
Speaking Thursday at an event organized by U.S. and Japanese nongovernmental groups, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover took issue with the report’s conclusion that “there is nothing to worry about” for members of the public exposed to radiation from Fukushima No. 1.
The report was prepared by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
The committee, which studied the levels and effects of radiation exposure caused by the nuclear disaster after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, found that for the general public, “no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected.”
Grover, who visited Japan in November 2012 and compiled his own report on the situation from a human rights perspective, said the data on radioactive exposure is insufficient to rule out the possibility that low doses could have ill effects on health.
He also said that ensuring the participation of affected communities in decision-making is “one of the core obligations” of governments and that the public has a right to information.
Radiation doubles to new high in No. 1 plant water ditch
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation rose to a new record in water collected from a drainage ditch at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Tepco said it detected a maximum of 140,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting substances, including strontium, from a water sample collected Wednesday from the ditch, which extends to the sea beyond the plant’s port.
The figure is 2.3 times higher than the previous record of 59,000 becquerels detected in water sampled at the same location Tuesday, and was more than 11 times the previous day’s reading.