Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fukushima radiation fears: children near nuclear plant to be given monitors Dosimeters to be given to 34,000 children in city 45 miles from Tepco plan

Tens of thousands of children living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are to be given personal radiation monitors, as concern grows over the long-term health effects of exposure to radiation.

Dosimeters will be given to 34,000 children aged between four and 15 living in Fukushima city, 45 miles from the plant, after abnormally high radiation readings were recorded in the area.

The risks posed by radiation from the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl have already driven 80,000 people from homes within 12 miles of the plant. Many of the child evacuees from communities that now lie empty attend schools in Fukushima, a city of 300,000 people.

Local authorities have provided monitors to schools outside the exclusion zone, but this is the first time they have been supplied to individual pupils. Data from the dosimeters will be analysed to assess the risks posed by cumulative radiation exposure.

The move, the latest concession to growing parental anger over patchy official information about the risks of radiation exposure, came as the company that operates the plant faced repeated verbal attacks at a rowdy annual shareholders' meeting in Tokyo.

More than 9,000 investors attended the meeting, held at a hotel under heavy police guard, with many berating Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] executives over their response to the 11 March tsunami, which crashed into the plant and knocked out vital cooling systems to reactors.

The crisis has knocked 85% off the value of Tepco shares and resulted in annual losses of $15bn (£9.4bn). The company also faces a compensation bill that could exceed $100bn, while a government plan to help fund damages claims has yet to be put to a parliamentary vote.


And, of course:

Child’s risk of cancer from radiation is 10-100 times higher than an adult who had same exposure (VIDEO)