Frequently Asked Questions on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Accident
Q1: Is Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station still out of control?
The "cold shutdown condition" of the nuclear reactors is expected to be achieved earlier than initially planned. The temperature of the reactors is already below the initial aim of 100 degree centigrade.
The Government-TEPCO Integrated Response Office- The Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, is making every effort to steadily implement the "Roadmap towards Restoration from the Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, TEPCO", establish the cold shutdown condition of all the nuclear reactors, reduce the amount of radioactive materials released, all towards the aim of returning evacuees home and ensuring the safety of people’s daily lives.
We have already achieved Step 1 of the Roadmap. We aimed to have by 17 October to achieve Step 2, "Release of radioactive materials is under control and radiation dose is being significantly held down", within the year 2011, which was earlier than the initial plan. The roadmap is being steadily implemented.
Even though the temperature of the reactors is already below the initial aim of 100 degree centigrade, we are working toward the achievement of Step 2, such as providing an additional water injection line for more effective cooling, since the current water injection line could again be stopped in case of another tsunami.
"Roadmap towards Restoration from the Accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station"
Q2: How many casualties resulted from the accident?
There are no confirmed causalities by the nuclear power station accident or the exposure of radiation caused by the accident.
In order to control radiation exposure for the workers at the power station, all workers are to be measured for exposure dose by full body counters. TEPCO is also to implement radiation controls strictly, not to exceed the residual dose of 100 millisieverts (msv). For the workers whose residual dose exceeds 100 msv TEPCO will provide regular health checks and establish a database in consideration for long-term healthcare.
The figure of 100 msv is based on the reference level for the highest planned residual dose in the band of 20 to 100 msv, for the protection of the public during emergencies, by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Under such radiation controls, three workers who have worked at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have died of illness as of 17 October, but none of them were severely exposed ort was there any confirmed relationship between their work and exposure.
Statement of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) after Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident
http://www.icrp.org/docs/Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident.pdf
Q3: Are local residents still living their daily lives in the contaminated area?
Entry into an area of 20km radius from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station and other nearby designated areas is prohibited for all except emergency response work.
According to related legislation, the government designated an area of 20km radius from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station as a "Restricted Area", into which entry is prohibited for all except emergency response work and temporary entry when granted. The government also designated a "Deliberate Evacuation Area", the area where there is a potential risk that accumulative dose might reach 20mSv within a 1 year period after the accident, where the residents were requested to evacuate. Furthermore, the government designated "Specific Spots Recommended for Evacuation" to the spots with same standard as the "Deliberate Evacuation Area".
The figure "accumulative dose of 20mSv within a 1 year period" is the strictest figure of the reference level for the highest residual dose, in the band of 20 to 100 mSv, for the protection of the public during emergencies, by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
ICRP also recommended choosing reference levels in the band of 1 to 20 mSv per year when the radiation source is under control, with the long-term goal of reducing reference levels to 1 mSv per year. The government of Japan has chosen the strictest figure of 1mSv per year with the aim of decontamination, and is supporting the decontamination activities of local authorities and residents in the areas where evacuation is not necessary. The government has especially put the highest priority to the decontamination of living areas of children, such as schools and parks as soon as possible, with the goal of achieving 1 mSv per year or even less.
Restricted Area, Deliberate Evacuation Area, Evacuation-Prepared Area in case of Emergency and Specific Spots Recommended for Evacuation
Basic Policy for Emergency Response on Decontamination Work
Q4: Did the Japanese Government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) fail to take appropriate measures after the accident?
The Government of Japan and TEPCO share the facts with the international community that they responded to the extreme circumstances of the accident in the best way possible and yet it was not sufficient.
The Mission Report of the IAEA recognizes that "Given the extreme circumstances of this accident the local management of the accident has been conducted in the best way possible." Nevertheless the report of the Japanese Government to the IAEA describes that nuclear reactors responded automatically to the earthquake itself and successfully conducted emergency shutdown, yet still the ability to withstand the damage of the tsunami was not sufficient, and also the steps for severe accident management was not sufficient for the multiple disasters. The report also describes that the Japanese Government will provide maximum transparency on the accident, share the lessons from the accident with the international community, and provide the highest level of nuclear safety standards for the future.
Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety - The Accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations -
Mission Report of IAEA International Fact Finding Expert Mission of the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP Accident Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Q5: Have the Japanese Government and TEPCO reported the details of the accident?
The government of Japan has accepted the IAEA Fact Finding Expert Mission and other Missions and has twice submitted detailed reports to the IAEA. It has also given presentations of explanation at international forums such as IAEA, OECD/NEA and the UN.
In addition to the above, the Government of Japan has also explained the situation and is providing necessary information to the diplomatic corps in Tokyo and foreign media regularly.
Additional Report of the Japanese Government to the IAEA
Press Conferences and Briefings, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Q6: Has the Japanese Government published information on contamination?
The Japanese Government is monitoring information on environmental radioactivity level and presenting the results in detail to the public.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology in Japan is publishing and uploading to the website frequently monitoring information on radioactivity collected by the Ministry itself, local governments, TEPCO, and other institutions. Major Japanese newspapers are also reporting the radioactivity level of major cities daily much like the weather forecast, which enables citizens to access the latest information.
Monitoring information of environmental radioactivity level, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology in Japan
Q7: Has the Japanese Government changed its position on energy mix policy toward denuclearisation?
The Government of Japan is now putting under consideration the future energy mix policy including nuclear power policy. By around the summer of 2012 the Government of Japan is set to create a new strategy and plan on Japan's mid- to long-term energy composition.
Speech of Prime Minister Noda at the United Nations General Assembly
Q8: Is it safe to consume food stuffs from Japan?
Food from Japan is safe since the Japanese standard of radioactivity level remaining in foods is as strict as or even stricter than that of EU.
Examination of radioactivity on agricultural, animal and fishery products before shipment is conducted in the Fukushima prefecture and neighbouring areas. There is a system whereby any food which exceeding the permitted level is not shipped out. Which kind of food from which area is restricted for shipping is open to the public and regularly updated. The information is also available on the website of related Ministries.
In addition to the Japanese domestic system, the EU is requesting to attach documents of proof of origin and radioactivity examination for food exports from specific areas of Japan. Exporters from Japan are following this EU regulation. Therefore we are expecting the European people will continue to enjoy healthy and safe Japanese foods more than ever.
Information on the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Information on the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Q9: Is it safe to visit Japan?
It is safe to visit Japan for tourism. The people of Japan are waiting for your visit.
Major cities and places of tourism have recovered relatively quickly after the disasters. In summer, the traditional summer festivals are conducted in various Tohoku cities with many tourists. Nevertheless visitors to Japan from overseas have severely decreased since March and have not yet recovered. The recovery of the tourism industry is essential for the recovery of the local economy. The people of Japan are waiting for your visit.
Messege from the Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency "To Our Dear Friends"
Video messege from Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Video message from Nadeshiko Japan (National Women's Football Team)
Video message from pop music group ARASHI
Q10: Where can I get further information about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Accident?
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides the webpage for the information on the Great East Japan Earthquake, including links to other related websites, and is updated regularly. You can also access it from the website of the Mission of Japan to the European Union (http://www.eu.emb-japan.go.jp )
Information on the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ministry of Foreign Affairs