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4 Feb 2017 Report on Research Base for Radiation Accidents and Medical Science “Citizens’ College” in Fukushima

Approaching 6 years since the complex disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, restoration efforts are visible. On the other hand, there remain unsolved problems, such as many evacuees who still live inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture, away from the places they regard as “home.” In support of them, and to promote open dialog on further reconstruction, a “Citizens’ College” convened in Fukushima City on February 4, 2017. Organized by the Research Base for Radiation Accidents and Medical Science, established in April, 2016, this Citizens’ College attracted about 150 participants, mainly prefectural residents.

After opening remarks by representatives of FMU and the Fukushima Prefectural Government, Yuko Endo, Mayor of Kawauchi Village, and Hideo Yanagisawa, NHK commentator, gave special lectures. They talked about their commitments to reconstruction as well as the need to get close to residents, to listen to residents’ opinions, to respect them, and to proceed with restoration with due regard for local preferences.
Subsequently, Drs. Masaya Yamauchi, Vice Director of Hiroshima University, Ichiro Sekine, Professor Emeritus of Nagasaki University, and Seiichi Takenoshita, Special Assistant to the President of FMU, offered their individual perspectives on nuclear disaster recovery, followed by a panel discussion by all three doctors. Through presentations and discussions by experts from Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University, and FMU, common issues emerged about reconstruction, whether from atomic bombs or nuclear accidents.
This Citizens’ College event was considered to be a valuable first step for the creation of “Recovery and Revitalization Studies” as well as a good opportunity for developing the cooperation of the three universities constituting the Research Base for Radiation Accidents and Medical Science, whose objectives are “to establish an academic foundation for advanced and integrated radiation disaster and medical science research, and to offer the results of the research to residents of the nation and to the international community.”

The titles of the presentations are listed:

1. Special Lectures
Yuko Endo: Breaking Away vs. Breaking Free
Hideo Yanagisawa: Toward an Order-Made Restoration
2. Presentations
Masaya Yamauchi: Reconstruction from Devastation – Hiroshima
Ichiro Sekine: Nagasaki – Reconstruction after the Atomic Bomb
Seiichi Takenoshita: Fukushima’s Medical Base for Revitalization and Reconstruction

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19 Jan 2017 KIRAMS and FMU sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

On 18 January, Fukushima Medical University (FMU) and the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (KIRAMS) signed an MOU to advance their international cooperation in various aspects of radiation emergency medicine.

This MOU recognizes many collegial relationships that developed from KIRAMS’ outreach following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis. FMU and KIRAMS have cooperated in academic exchange, including the dispatch of delegates and speakers to conferences held by each institution. This MOU formalizes a growing cooperative relationship.

Projects that will emerge from this MOU include joint sponsorship of radiation emergency medicine training programs intended for participants from around the world.

KIRAM’s National Radiation Emergency Medical Center and FMU’s Fukushima Global Medical Science Center are the designated partners in this MOU.

Areas of Cooperation
– Medical preparedness for radiation emergencies
– Education and training for REM personnel
– Physical & biological dose assessment
– Therapeutics for high-dose radiation-induced damage
– Radiation effects and radiation protection of public from low-dose accidental and natural irradiation
– Risk communication

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【MOU Signing Ceremony between KIRAMS and FMU】

16 Nov 2016 United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) leaders visited FMU

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) delegates, led by Mr. Malcolm Crick, Secretary of UNSCEAR, met with FMU President Shin-ichi Kikuchi and other management of FMU on 16 November 2016.

Then they had a meeting with FMU professors. FMU made presentations on (1) Overview of Fukushima Health Management Survey, (2) Current status on public dose assessments, (3) Current status on thyroid cancer examination, and (4) Current status on other health effects. The participants from the two organizations exchanged views on the situation in Fukushima and confirmed further cooperation between them.

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Mr. Crick and Dr. Kikuchi (the 3rd and 4th from the left)

 

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Minnesota 2016 October Trip Report

Professor Kenneth Nollet was in Minnesota, 30 September to 9 October 2016.  His main speaking engagement was hosted by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), part of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety.  In addition to HSEM staff, public health, law enforcement, military, and electric utility professionals attended and actively discussed topics of mutual interest.

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Above: Minnesota’s Emergency Operations Center, during and after Professor Nollet’s presentation, Crisis, Community, and Confidence: A Minnesotan Reflects on Japan’s 3.11 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident. Lower right: Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joseph Kelly receives a copy of Fukushima: Lives on the Line.

This 7 October 2011 presentation can be accessed in slide-over-notes format here:

 

Nollet also spent time with Hibbing High School students from several science classes, involving them in an interactive presentation, At the Intersection of Biology and Physics: Human Radiation Exposure in the Nuclear Age.

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Above: Hibbing High School, built in 1923, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its education program earned the Bellamy Award in 1968.

 

This trip to Minnesota also included study tours of elder care facilities, with special attention to emergency evacuation policies and practices.  The ability to evacuate residents, their medications, and their care plans is important, as is the wisdom to know when evacuation might do more harm than it prevents.  These are among the lessons from 3.11.

 

Another study tour destination was the Soudan Mine High Energy Physics Lab, recently used to detect neutrino radiation originating from a cyclotron at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois.

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Above: The Soudan Mine High Energy Physics Lab is more than 2300 feet (700 meters) below ground, to shield its particle detectors (upper left) from natural cosmic radiation that penetrates the atmosphere and reaches the earth’s surface.

 

Announcement of Publication of English version “Public Health in a Nuclear Disaster”

October 18, 2016
                             
Dr. Seiji Yasumura, Professor and Chair of Fukushima Medical University’s Department of Public Health, and Assistant to the Director of the Fukushima Health Management Survey, compiled and edited a book now available in English, Public Health in a Nuclear Disaster – Message from Fukushima – (originally, 原子力災害の公衆衛生 福島からの発信), a record of 1000 days of public health activities in the prefecture since March 11, 2011. This new English version was translated with adaptations for an international audience.

The original Japanese version was published in January 2014 to describe countermeasures applicable to future accidents, which we nevertheless hope will never happen. Prefectural government officials, municipal public health officials, various professional organizations, and others wrote about facts and lessons for future generations, what happened in the field of public health, and how they felt as public health officials active in our disaster.

The English version includes commentaries on various activities performed by Hiroshima University, which dispatched a total of more than 1,300 staff including doctors, technicians, nurses, and others providing multilateral support for the reconstruction of Fukushima, and new human resource development initiatives which were born in the wake of this support to Fukushima. Regarding the activities of Hiroshima University, Dr. Kenji Kamiya, Vice President of Hiroshima University, concurrently Vice President of Fukushima Medical University and Senior Director of the Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Fukushima Medical University, served as editor.

The English version of this book was published by Hiroshima University Press on August 23, 2016. In the future, an English e-book will also be released for library e-book services.

●Outline of English version
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Title: Public Health in a Nuclear Disaster – Message from Fukushima –
Edited by: Seiji Yasumura and Kenji Kamiya
Published by: Hiroshima University Press
Contents:
Chapter 1 What Nuclear Disaster Means
Chapter 2 Initiatives of Public Administrations
Chapter 3 Situation of and Countermeasures by Each Individual Municipality
Chapter 4 Activities of Various Professional Organizations
Chapter 5 Measures taken by Hiroshima University
Chapter 6 Suggestions – Toward the Future –
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Paperback: ISBN: 78-4-903068-37-4 JPY5724
e-book(will be published): ISBN:978-4-903068-38-1 
                  

1-2 Oct 2016 The rehabilitation of living conditions in the Futaba region

kawauchi161001The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) convened 12 Dialogue Seminars for Fukushima Prefecture residents, with other domestic and international participants, from November 2011 to September 2015. Dialog Seminar reports appear on the ICRP site.

Following these 12 seminars, an international workshop on this Dialog Initiative convened in Date City, Fukushima, on 12-13 December 2015, as reported here.

This year, a follow-up study tour and Dialogue Seminar convened in Iitate Village, Fukushima, 9-10 July 2016, which is reported here.

This time, a Dialogue Seminar entitled “The rehabilitation of living conditions in the Futaba region” was convened in Kawauchi Village on 1-2 October 2016 jointly organized by Kawauchi Village and Nagasaki University.

The First day:
Session 1: The situation in the Futaba region
Administrative officials from some towns and villages in the Futaba region made presentations on their reconstruction activities and outcomes since the disaster.
Following these presentations, the chairman of a commerce and industry association in Kawauchi Village talked about the association’s efforts for reconstruction.
Nagasaki University has been active in Kawauchi Village since 2013, and their representative who has been in the village gave a presentation on the measures of strengthening risk communications with residents there.

Session 2: The socio-economic conditions for returning home
Roundtable discussion by residents in the Futaba region was held concerning the activities they have been doing since the disaster.
In the afternoon, the participants were divided in to three groups; in each group, residents discussed and exchanged various views about what has been carried out for recovery in order to ensure acceptable living conditions in their communities at this stage and what future plans should be implemented.

The Second day:
Session 3: Returning home: decontamination, waste management and environmental surveillance
A Japanese expert and a resident made presentations on decontamination, waste management and environmental surveillance, after which participants were again divided into three groups to discuss the above-mentioned issues.

Session 4: Supporting and disseminating experience for the future of Futaba region and beyond
Three experts, from the Ministry of the Environment, Fukushima Medical University, and Fukushima University, made presentations on their support of local activities in this region for a brighter future.

Finally, the two-day seminar concluded that for the way forward, a shared vision of the future is needed, along with a framework to support local products.

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Contacts

For questions or concerns, please send email to
kenkani@fmu.ac.jp.

Donations

The Radiation Medical Science Center accepts individual and institutional donations to carry out its public outreach, research projects in the field of low dose radiation effects on human health, and education programs for Disaster and Radiation Emergency Medicine, with the hope of improving the health of Fukushima residents.
If you wish to donate to our center, please contact us under kenkani@fmu.ac.jp.