Radiation Emergency Medicine
Vol.1, No.1-2

Radiation Emergency Medicine Vol.1, No.1-2 cover
  • Publisher : Hirosaki University Press
  • Language : English
  • ISSN : 2186-8026
  • Release : March 2012
  • Issue : http://www.hirosaki-u.ac.jp/hupress/2012/02/1393
  • pp. 1-128


Risk Communication as a Strategic Tool to Raise Awareness of Radon Health Effects and to Reduce Exposures to the Public

  • James Mc Laughlin

  • School of Physics, University College Dublin, Ireland


Excluding accidental radiation exposures and those received in radiation therapy the largest and most variable component of dose to the public is due to exposure to the naturally occurring radioactive gas radon and its progeny in their homes. On a global basis the annual dose to the general population from radon has been estimated to be 1.2 mSv per year. In many countries however, doses of some tens of mSv/year occur in high radon areas. The principal epidemiologically established risk from radon exposure is lung cancer. Due to synergistic effects in combination with smoking it can greatly amplifies the already high lung cancer risk due to smoking alone. Radon is classified as a Group 1 human carcinogen and is considered by the World Health Organization as being responsible for between 3 and 14% of lung cancers. An important component of a national strategy to reduce public exposure to radon is risk communication. Its main objectives are to raise awareness of the hazard from radon and to encourage radon measurement in homes and to take action to reduce indoor radon concentrations. Here an overview is given of the various components of radon risk communication such as the identification of target audiences, the messages to be used and the appropriate channels of communication.

A Brief Review of Researches Related to Radiation Emergency Medicine at Fudan University, China

  • Weihai Zhuo, Honghong Chen, Bo Chen, Haikuan Liu

  • Institute of Radiation Medicine, Fudan University, China


Institute of Radiation Medicine (IRM), Fudan University originated from Shanghai Institute of Industrial Hygiene which was founded by the Ministry of Health, P. R. China, in 1962. From 1985 to 2000, it was placed under the management of the former Shanghai Medical University, and it was transferred to Fudan University as the former Shanghai Medical University was merged in 2000. In the past nearly 50 years, both fundamental and applied researches on the dose?response relationships of ionizing radiation, prevention, diagnosis, treatment of radiation injury and other related subjects were comprehensively conducted in the IRM, and a lot of fruitful results have been achieved. In this review, the main research results associated with radiation emergency medicine in the IRM were briefly introduced and summarized into the following aspects: Prediction of radiological impacts due to nuclear or radiological terrorism events, Dose estimation, Decorporation of intake radionuclides, Treatment of radiation injury.

Terrestrial Gamma Radiation Dose Rate in Japan Estimated before the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

  • Masahide Furukawa and Reina Shingaki

  • Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus


The natural radiation level is a good indicator to assess the influence from artificial radiations resulted from some nuclear accident. In this paper, we show the representative maps for the distribution of terrestrial gamma radiation dose rate in Japan before the great earthquake (M 9.0) on 11 March 2011 that attacked mainly northeastern part of Japan and triggered powerful tsunami and serious nuclear accident. The sources of terrestrial gamma radiations are natural radioactive elements that have always existed in the earth. Based on the nationwide data, the average of the dose rate in Japan is estimated to be 50 nGy/h. Also the averages in the northeast and the southwest of Japan are estimated to be 56 and 40 nGy/h, respectively. The geographical variation of the dose rate can be explained in relation to the variation of rocks and soils.

History and Progress of Radiation Education Using Handy-Type Radiation Survey-Meter Named “Hakaru-Kun” in Japan

  • Takeshi Iimoto1∗,Tomohisa Kakefu2 and Yoichi Kiyohara3

  • 1The University of Tokyo (Committee chair of the Hakaru-kun project)
    2Japan Science Foundation (Officer in chief of the Hakaru-kun project)
    3Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan(Committee member of the Hakaru-kun project)


History and progress of the Hakaru-kun project continuing around for a quarter century has been introduced. The core of the project is “Hakaru-kun”, handy-type radiation survey-meters. The authors believe we Japan faced two big turning points on radiation education recently. One is the revision of the government curriculum guidelines for elementary schools and for junior high schools in 2008. In the revised guidelines, a keyword of “radiation” was re-involved at interval of about 40 years. Second is the accident of the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Cooperation in March, 2011. We should continue serious discussion on the relation and harmonization among environment protection, usage of science and technology, and also safety and security based on the facts and real data with international consensus. Usage of radiation and radioactive materials is now one of the most important discussion points. We should understand most of environment radiation can be easily detected by simple radiation surveymeters. This would be the first step to understand radiation, and then might be connected to public’s real interest in radiation itself. We also hope this activity of the project in Japan would be a good example or model on radiation education in other countries.

Actinide Analysis in Biological Materials

  • Sarata Kumar Sahoo1∗, Rawiwan Kritsananuwat1 2 and Masahiro Fukushi2

  • 1Research Centre for Radiation Protection, National Institute of Radiological Sciences
    2School of Radiological Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University


In response to an emergency radiological incident there is always a need for fast, reliable methods for the determination of actinides on bioassay samples. This is one of the utmost important for dose evaluation as well as for proper medication for the exposed one. Due to the complexities lying in the biological sample matrix, it is very important to have a proper analytical methodology for estimation of actinides. This paper summaries the basic procedures needed for the accurate and fast measurement of different actinide elements like U, Th, Pu and Am in biological matrices mainly urine and fecal samples and also isotopic ratios. For actinide analysis in biological material the most important steps involved are sample digestion, radiochemical separation, source preparation followed by detection. Depending upon the type of actinide, its concentration, sample size availability careful selection of proper procedure is needed for each step for accurate and reliable measurement. This also briefly describes the improved and modified methodologies for estimation of different actinides in biological matrices at low level by different researchers.

The Effects of Maternal Exposure to Radiation on the Fetus

  • Satoko Ebina1, Yasushi Mariya2 and Ikuo Kashiwakura3

  • 1Department of Disability and Health, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Health Sciences
    2Department of Radiology, Iwate Prefectural Central Hospital
    3Department of Radiological Life Sciences, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Health Sciences


Radiation exposure during pregnancy should be avoided for several reasons, including teratogenesis, carcinogenesis, and mutagenesis. However, exposure during pregnancy is often unavoidable because procedures involving radiation are vital for identifying significant maternal and/or fetal complications or trauma. Moreover, women may be exposed to radiation before they are aware of their pregnancy. Radiation exposure through diagnostic and therapeutic procedures a common concern for pregnant women. Most of their anxiety originates from the general view that any radiation exposure is harmful and can result in adverse effects on the fetus. This anxiety can lead to an unnecessary termination of the pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women should always be informed of the benefits of the procedures and the risks of radiation exposure to the fetus, and allow them to make an informed decision regarding termination of the pregnancy after radiation exposure. The present report focuses on issues related to radiation exposure of pregnant women and fetuses, specifically in Japanese medical institutions.

A Brief Review of Environmental Impacts and Health Effects from the Accidents at the Three Mile Island,Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants

  • Masatoshi Yamada

  • Department of Radiation Chemistry, Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Hirosaki University


On 28 March 1979, the most serious accident in the history of USA commercial nuclear power plant operation occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant. Failure to close a pressure relief valve led to severe damage of uncooled fuel. A series of events then led to core melt and release of fission products. On 26 April 1986, the most severe accident ever to occur in the nuclear industry began at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The cause of the accident was a runaway surge in the power level that caused the water coolant to vaporize inside the reactor. This was followed by a steam explosion and fire with release of radioactive materials. On 11 March 2011, a great earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and caused lose of emergency power supplies for cooling functions. Explosions destroyed the reactor buildings and considerable amounts of radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere and ocean. This paper addresses the cause of the accidents at these three nuclear power plants, the released amount of radioactive materials, and the radioactive contamination and health effects.

Radiation Regulations Relevant to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident

  • Michikuni Shimo

  • Fujita Health University


On March 11, 2011, a serious accident began at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a huge tsunami hit the plant as a result of the M9.0 earthquake. The regulation values for the radiation and radioactivity in an emergency were noticed, and were not adequate serve for this situation. The existing regulation values concerning the notification criteria for occurrence of an unusual situation and the judgment criteria of an emergency, the radiation dose limits of workers in an emergency, sheltering and evacuation of residents, and oral administration of stable iodine tablet are first described. The regulation values set after the accident are concerned with the intake of foods and drinks, the paddy field soil, going to school and engaging in outdoor activities for kindergarten and school age children, swimming beaches, and ash and fly ash from incinerators, sludge from sewage disposal plants and residual matter from water purification plants.

Applications of Nuclear Track Detectors in Radiation-protection Monitoring

  • Luigi Tommasino

  • Consultant


The present paper deals with the solid state etch-track detectors and their applications to the detection / dosimetry of neutrons, radon, and radon-decay products. Most of the scientists, actively engaged in the late 60’s and in the 70’s for monitoring the occupational neutron-exposure by etch-track detectors, became also involved in the development of personal monitors for the exposure to radon-decay products in mines. The personal dosimetry of neutrons and that of radon decay products have had a parallel history and a lot of common traits, such as the same track detectors, the same etching and counting procedures, the same scientists and/or laboratories involved. These parallel investigations have been conducive to the development of etch-track-based film-badges for the detection of the neutron fluency and the radon concentration respectively. Thanks to these parallel investigations, it was possible to demonstrate that radon may represent a strong disturbing factor for the response of neutron film-badges. In particular, it was finally possible to explain the erratic response obtained in the past with neutron film-badges, based on polycarbonate track detectors, characterized by a large radon sorption. Finally, a strategy similar to that established for neutron dosimetry has been recently proposed to solve the long-standing problem of the dosimetry of radon-decay products.

Lessons Learned from Response to the Accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant: from Viewpoint of Radiation Emergency Medicine and Combined Disaster

  • Takako Tominaga1, Misao Hachiya1, and Makoto Akashi2∗

  • 1Department of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Research center for radiation emergency medicine, National Institution of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan
    2National Institution of Radiological Sciences


Since the JCO criticality accident in 1999, it has been thought to be prudent to prepare a system for radiation emergency medicine. The Great East Japan Earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred in Japan on March 11, 2011, and this earthquake and tsunami caused serious damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). Hospitals that had been designated as radiation emergency facilities lost their function because they were located in the evacuation areas, and community lifelines such as water supply and electricity were severely damaged. However, hospitals not thusly designated could not receive patients from NPP because of concerns about the health effects of radiation from patients. In Japan, local governments with nuclear facilities such as NPPs run the training system of radiation emergency for medical professionals. However, those without nuclear facilities do not have the system. Therefore, education and training were restricted to related organizations and agencies. From the response to this accident, we learned that all hospitals, their staffs and first responders need knowledge about radiation and the basics of radiation emergency medicine. The response to this accident has also highlighted the challenges of a radiation emergency medical response system for a combined disaster. In our efforts for recovery from the damages, reconstruction of the medical system for radiation emergency in the affected areas has to be accelerated, since reactors have not been stabilized and many workers are still involved in recovery work, with high risks of radiation exposure at the NPP site. From our response to this combined disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and radiation, we also learned that there is an urgent need for an all-hazards approach.