FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

178INTRODUCTIONThe accident took place on Apri1 26 in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant located 130 km north from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The reactor 4 exploded and caught fire. This was to be the worst radiation disaster in history. At the time no specific information was publicized due to the cold war. Lack of information and fear of invisible radiation caused panic around the world. Substantial international support began only after 1990 when the Soviet Union stepped towards disorganization along with perestroika (economy reform) and glasnost (publicity).The scientific knowledge we learned from health impacts on inhabitants around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and workers in the plant provides us with critical information when considering countermeasures for health impacts on the people and workers involved in the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.In this study, we would like to briefly explain health impacts caused by the accident in Chernobyl and study similarities and differences in the accident in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. We would like to consider the lessons which must be learnt from the accident in Chernobyl.EMITTED RADIOACTIVE NUCLIDES AND COUNTERMEASURES FOR INTERNAL EXPOSUREFor the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, we have to wait until inspections reveal details of radioactive nuclides emitted in the accident. In Chernobyl, one of the dominantly emitted radioactive nuclides was assumed to be harmless xenon 131. Some of the other nuclides have short half-life such as that of iodine-131 of which is eight days and tellurium-132, which turns into iodine-132 within a very short period of time. Radioactive cesium which has a relatively long half-life was also thought to be included1) (Table 1).Since iodine 131 and radioactive cesium were the Noboru Takamura, Shun-ichi YamashitaCorresponding author : Noboru Takamura E-mail address : takamura@nagasaki-u. ac.jphttp://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/fms http://μmu.ac.jp/home/lib/F-igaku/Abstract : The Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986, led to the emission of radioactive substances such as iodine-131 and radioactive cesium. As the Soviet Union did not control food distribution and intake, residents were exposed to high levels of internal radiation, leading to the internal radiation exposure of the thyroid gland by iodine131. As a result, the number of people who had thyroid cancer increased drastically among those who had been under 15 years old at the time of the accident. The age predilection is about to move to 25 or older. However, there has been no scientific evidence of impacts for solid tumor other than thyroid cancer, leukemia, benign diseases, or inheritance including unborn babies. On the other hand, the accident was thought to have caused social unrest and mental damage which had far more impact than that caused by radiation exposure.In this paper, we would like to summarize the impacts on the health of the people in Chernobyl compared to those caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.Key words : Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, internal exposure, thyroid cancer, iodine131Fukushima J. Med. Sci.,Vol. 57, № 2, 2011Lessons from ChernobylNoboru Takamura1) and Shun-ichi Yamashita2)1)Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Nagasaki, Japan, 2)Vice President, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan(Received July 8, 2011, accepted September 7, 2011)