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WHO’s report on health risks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is a cover up job

10 March 2013

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On February 28th, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its "Health risk assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami". This report concluded that “for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.”1 The assessment is based on preliminary dose estimations, published by the WHO in May 20122, which were severely criticized by the German Section of IPPNW, independent researchers and Japanese civil organizations.3 This analysis discusses the eight main objections to the current WHO report and shows why it should not be considered a neutral scientific assessment of the actual health risks of the affected population, nor a valid basis for future decisions and recommendations.

Scientifically speaking, the main point of criticism to this report has to be the fact that the health risk assessment is based on dose assessments which are dubious, if not to say plain wrong. The source term estimates (the total emission of radioactive particles) used in the WHO report were significantly lower than those of independent research institutions and in some cases also lower than TEPCO’s own measurements. The exposure of the population living in the 20-km zone around the nuclear plant was omitted, even though this population may have been exposed to high levels of iodine-131 before and during the chaotic evacuations. The quantity and selection of food samples used in the calculations of the internal radiation dose were shown to be inadequate and in stark contrast to samples published by the Japanese authorities. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, the report was mainly composed by scientists working for organizations with stakes in the continued and profitable utilization of nuclear energy, casting doubts on the neutrality of the report’s findings. All of these detailed points of criticism can be found in the report by IPPNW Germany entitled “Analysis of WHO report on Fukushima catastrophe“, which is freely available online.4 No matter how expertly undertaken, a calculation of health risks can only be as exact as the assumptions that it is based on. An assessment that relies on data, whose validity has to be questioned on the grounds of lacking neutrality, selective sampling, distortion and omission of relevant facts, cannot be accepted by the scientific community as a basis on which to make health recommendations.


Critical Analysis of the WHO’s health risk assessment of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe
Dr. Alex Rosen
German Section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War March 1st, 2013