Current Issue

Radiation Environment and Medicine
Vol.12, No.2

Radiation Environment and Medicine Vol.12, No.2 cover
  • Publisher : Hirosaki University Press
  • Language : English
  • ISSN : 2423-9097 , 2432-163X
  • Release : August, 2023
  • Issue : Hirosaki University Press
  • pp. 81-139


On the Occasion of the Publication of a New Journal
“Radiation Environment and Medicine”

I am privileged with the honor of sending my short message on the occasion of the publication by Hirosaki University Press of a new journal “Radiation Environment and Medicine”. This journal was previously published under the other title, “Radiation Emergency Medicine”, from 2012 through 2015 concurrently with the inauguration of the program to foster human resources in radiation emergency medicine that was approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan in 2010. This success is greatly indebted to the enthusiasm of the then President of Hirosaki University, Dr. Masahiko Endo, who firmly believed the necessity of establishing a stronghold on radiation emergency medicine in the northern region of Japan.

Having been launched by the Ex-President Dr. Masahiko Endo and continuously supported by the present President Dr. Kei Sato, the program has been run steadily by efforts of faculty members and students of Hirosaki University. Thereby, the publication of the journal overcame start-up problems and recently the Editorial Board discussed how to further upgrade the journal. In order to invite more submissions of papers, the Editorial Board decided to broaden the scope of the journal by incorporating “radiation environmental issues”. Thus, the journal wasrelabeled as “Radiation Environment and Medicine.”

I sincerely hope that not only domestic but also world-wide researchers in the related fields will contribute their scientific outcomes to the new journal.

Akihiro Shima, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
Ex-Member of the External Evaluation Board of the Program


Hirosaki University has issued Radiation Emergency Medicine (REM) since 2012. An educational program for professionals in Radiation Emergency Medicine was initiated in 2010, and our prompt response to the Fukushima nuclear accident which occurred in 2011 motivated the publication of this journal. Many prestigious scientists from not only Japan, but also foreign countries have contributed to REM thus far.

In addition, the inaugural symposium was held in February 2012, with a focus on natural radiation exposures and low-dose radiation epidemiological studies (NARE2012). The symposium attracted more than 150 participants from 30 countries. Additionally, the ninth symposium in the series of international symposia on Natural Radiation Environment (NRE9), which commenced in the 1960s, was held in September 2014. A special session on the Fukushima nuclear accident was also included in the symposium. Approximately 200 participants from 35 countries attended NRE9. According to these two large symposia, many scientists in the world now recognize Hirosaki University as one of the prominent Japanese institutions, whose faculty conduct research on a wide spectrum of radiation topics.

Last August (2015), the Nuclear Regulation Authority designated Hirosaki University as having two important centers which cover radiation emergency medicine and radiation emergency medical assistance. In addition to these domestic situations, there have been recent developments worldwide in the area of natural radiation exposures and their control. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a handbook on indoor radon in 2009, and more recently the European Radon Association was formed to address the health burden due to indoor radon in Europe. It is of interest to note that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a revised version of the Basic Safety Standards (BSS), which includes protection of the public against indoor exposure to radon and other natural sources of radiation last May (2015) .

From such international circumstances, many articles concerning environmental radiation and radioactivity, including natural radiation exposure studies, have been published in Radiation Emergency Medicine. Therefore, the editorial board elected to change the journal name to Radiation Environment and Medicine as the continuation of Radiation Emergency Medicine from the publication of Volume 5. The scope of the journal now widely covers not only medical issues including radiation emergency medicine, but also environmental issues.

On behalf of the editorial board, we welcome your submission to the new REM.

Shinji Tokonami, Ph.D.
Radiation Environment and Medicine



Biophysical Simulations for Estimating Biological Effects after Exposure to Ionizing Radiation: Current State and Future Prospects

  • Yusuke Matsuya1, 2* and Ryo Saga3

  • 1 Faculty of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita-12, Nishi-5, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0812, Japan
    2 Nuclear Science and Engineering Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Shirakata 2-4, Tokai 319-1195, Japan
    3 Department of Radiation Science, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hirosaki University, 66-1 Hon-cho, Hirosaki, Aomori, 036-8564, JAPAN


Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations and biophysical models are powerful tools to evaluate the biological effects after exposure to ionizing radiation in radiation protection and radiation therapy. During human body exposure to radiation, DNA lesions as an early biological response are induced by energy deposition, leading to cell death with a certain probability. Thus, conducting translational studies focusing on radiation physics, cellular biology, and oncology is warranted. Herein, two simulation tools for predicting biological effects are introduced, that is, Particle and Heavy-Ion Transport code System (PHITS) and integrated microdosimetric-kinetic model (IMKM). To date, the PHITS code, which implements track-structure calculation at a DNA scale, allows estimation of the DNA damage yields through electrons and protons in various forms, such as single-strand break (SSB), double-strand break (DSB), and complex DSB (that is DSB coupled with additional strand breaks within 10-bp separation). Meanwhile, the IMKM which was developed to consider microdosimetry, the DSB damage responses and heterogeneous cell population can successfully reproduce experimental cell surviving fraction for various irradiation conditions, which can realize the translational study between in vitro cell survival and clinical tumor control probability in cancer treatment. These models would allow a precise understanding of cellular responses after exposure to ionizing radiation. Throughout this review, we discuss the latest status and future prospects of these simulation tools.

Regular Article

The Estimation of Annual Exposure to the Irish Population from Cosmic Radiation due to Air Travel

  • Fergal Dolan1* and Kevin Kelleher2, 3

  • 1University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
    2Associate Research Professor , Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Hirosaki University, Japan
    3Environmental Protection Agency, Richview, Dublin 14, Ireland


Anytime that someone travels by air they will receive a dose of ionising radiation in the form of cosmic radiation. The aim of this study was to estimate the average dose of cosmic radiation received by a member of the Irish public over the period of a typical year due to air travel. The frequency of air travel by Irish residents to several regions was determined using data from various sources. The total dose that one would receive for a typical flight to and from the region was then calculated using software available for flight crews to estimate the radiation dose that they have received through flying. The annual effective dose for an Irish person as a result of cosmic radiation from air travel was estimated to be 68 μSv.

Regular Article

Effect of Off-axis Ion Recombination Factor on the Beam Profile in Flattening Filter-free Photon Beams

  • Yuki Tanimoto1, 2, Masataka Oita3*, Shohei Yoshida1, Atsuki Nakahira1, Kazunobu Koshi1 and Hirofumi Honda4

  • 1Department of Radiological Technology, National Hospital Organization (NHO) Shikoku Cancer Center, 160 Minamiumemotomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 791-0280, Japan
    2Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in Health Systems, Okayama University, 3-1 Tsushimanaka, 3-chome, Kita-ku, Okayama, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
    3Faculty of Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in Health Systems, Okayama University, 3-1 Tsushimanaka, 3-chome, Kita-ku, Okayama, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
    4Department of Radiological Technology, Ehime University Hosipital, Shitsukawa, Toon, Ehime 791-0204, Japan


The ion recombination factor (ks) of a beam without a flattening filter differs from that of a filtered beam. In this study, we examined the effect of changing the measurement conditions on ks in the off-axis direction, and clarified the effect on the beam profile. We calculated ks using the Jaffe plot and two-voltage method (TVM) by varying the measurement conditions, adding ks,rel, off-ax to the beam profile, and comparing the changes via local gamma analysis. The central value of ks increased with X-ray energy, and the effect become more pronounced when the measurement depth is varied. For the beam profile with high energy and a field size of 40 × 40 cm2, the results of the local gamma analysis are lower than the reference value. At the maximum dose depth, the results are poor, even when the field size is 30 × 30 cm2. At 40 × 40 cm2, the results are lower than the reference value even when the criteria are further relaxed. Our results indicate that ks differs depending on the measurement method, and thus, ks,rel,off-ax should be considered when measuring beam profiles with field sizes larger than 30 × 30 cm2.


Expectation for Utilizing Supercomputers in Natural Radiation Research

  • Kazuki Iwaoka1*, Masahiro Hosoda2 and Shinji Tokonami2

  • 1National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage, Chiba 263-8555, Japan
    2Hirosaki University, 66-1 Honcho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8564, Japan


In Japan, there are 33 types of supercomputers with registered specifications. One of these is jointly owned by the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). This supercomputer has been used in some studies, and information on using it in other research (i.e., natural radiation research) is limited. This supercomputer was used to perform two cases related to natural radiation research (Case 1–Monte Carlo radiation transport calculation and Case 2–Building Artificial Intelligence image recognition model) in this study. This study describes the expected benefits and drawbacks of using this supercomputer from the viewpoint of general natural radiation researchers.


A Report of Pollutant Releases of Potential Radiological Concern from Major NORM Industries in Canada

  • Jing Chen*

  • Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, 775 Brookfield Road, Ottawa K1A 1C1, Canada


Activities involved with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) cover broad industrial sectors with very diverse characteristics. The main contributors to the NORM releases are mining and mineral processing industries. Releases from industries involving NORM are often produced in large amounts, but not well characterised radiologically; as a result, data are lacking to characterize public and worker exposures. The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) contains a total of 323 pollutants released to air, water and land from all industries in Canada. However, all major radionuclides from uranium and thorium series are not in the reporting list of NPRI. Given this constraint, this report advances our understanding of releases from NORM industries by describing the nature and magnitude of releases for pollutant substances reported in NPRI that are known to have naturally occurring radioactive isotopes other than in uranium and thorium series, and total particulate matters with great potential containing radionuclides from uranium and thorium series. The results indicate that NORM industries are responsible for almost all of the releases to air for the pollutant substances reviewed here: 100% for thallium and its compounds, 97% for lead and its compounds, 95% for cadmium and its compounds, 91% for selenium and its compounds, and 86% for total particulate matter (< 100μm).


Cytogenetic Biodosimetry in Radiation Emergency Medicine: 5. The Dicentric Chromosome and its Role in Biodosimetry

  • Donovan Anderson1, Yu Abe2, Valerie Goh Swee Ting3, Ryo Nakayama1, 4, Kai Takebayashi1, 4,
    Mai Tran Thanh1, 4, 5, Yohei Fujishima1, Akifumi Nakata6, Kentaro Ariyoshi7, Kosuke Kasai4,
    Mitsuaki A. Yoshida1, 8 and Tomisato Miura1*

  • 1Department of Risk Analysis and Biodosimetr y, Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Hirosaki University, 66-1 Hon-cho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8564, Japan
    2Department of Radiation Biology and Protection, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan
    3Department of Radiobiology, Singapore Nuclear Research and Safety Initiative, National University of Singapore, 1 Create Way, Singapore 138602, Singapore
    4Department of Bioscience and Laborator y Medicine, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Health Sciences,
    66-1 Hon-cho, Hirosaki, Aomori 036-8564, Japan
    5Biodosimetr y Group, Centre of Radiation Technology and Biotechnology, Dalat Nuclear Research Institute, 1 Nguyen Tu Luc, Ward 8, Dalat City, Lamdong Province, Vietnam
    6Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University of Science, 15-4-1, Maeda 7- jo, Teine-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 006-8585, Japan
    7Center for Integrated Science and Humanities, Fukushima Medical University, 1 Hikariga-oka, Fukushima City, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan
    8Institute of Chromosome Life Science, 11-5-409, Fukuokachuo 2-Chome, Fujimino-shi, Saitama 356-0031, Japan


In the case of nuclear or radiological emergencies, biodosimetry has been used to estimate radiation dose to exposed persons and provide information to physicians for clinical treatment and counselling of possible future stochastic consequences. There are currently several biological endpoints and techniques available for assessing partial or whole-body radiological exposure in peripheral blood lymphocytes. However, the use of dicentric chromosomes (Dic) in biodosimetry is still recognized as the main dose-assessment method for estimating exposure to ionizing radiation and has become a routine component of radiation protection. Dics are specific to radiation exposure and the background level is low in non-exposed individuals, making them advantageous in biodosimetry. Here, we provide a review of Dics and its role in biodosimetry as research efforts on assay optimization and high-throughput have been published since the mid-1960s. Additionally, we provide recommended technical information (e.g., colcemid addition, scoring, generating dose-response curves) needed to implement the dicentric chromosome assay (DCA) in laboratories and to allow comparable dose assessment following exposure to acute ionizing radiation. While DCA has been optimized for nuclear or radiological emergencies, increased uncertainty in dose estimation can be caused by the scoring of Dic and variation of calibration curves. Total dose, dose-rate, radiation quality, and sampling time after exposure are some of the factors that influence the results of DCA. Future consideration is also needed as no single assay is sufficient for all radiation scenarios.