Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.124

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., PhD., Yuki Senoo


247 Preparedness Important, Evacuation System Modified

  The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident provided a clear visual of the importance of an emergency response plan for a nuclear accident. Reflecting on the events that occurred during and after the nuclear accident, various countermeasures and preparations have been modified.


 Under the current nuclear emergency response system, the process of emergency preparation, radiation protection, and the schedule for evacuation orders during a nuclear accident differ depending on a location's distance from a power plant. In a nuclear emergency, residents within a 5-km radius from a power plant are required to evacuate before radioactive substances are released. On the other hand, evacuation orders for those living in areas within a 5- to 30-km radius of a power plant will be issued according to the air radiation dose rate measured in real time.


Evacuation is not limited to those in hospitals and nursing homes. It includes people who are receiving medical treatment at home, the elderly, people with disabilities, infants, and many others who cannot evacuate on their own. For this reason, it is necessary to develop evacuation plans, including preparing destinations for patient transportation and simulating transportation methods for people living in remote areas


The government has amended the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act based on the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima triple disaster. Now, local governments are required to prepare lists of people who need assistance during evacuation as a part of their emergency preparations.


248. Caution regarding infectious diseases following the typhoon

First, I would like to express my sincere sympathy to all those who have suffered from the damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis (19th typhoon), which struck Japan in October 2019. Many people are still struggling to recover from the damage, including flooding, water shortages, and mud and waste disposal.


Based on the experience and lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, there are several factors we should be aware of in terms of health protection following natural or manmade disasters.


One of the crucial lessons from past disasters is related to infectious diseases. Thick mud and debris must be disposed of properly, as they contain many germs. In some cases, mud and debris are composed of a mixture of sewage, chemicals, and various other material. Thus, the management of this type of waste is completely different from gardening in the backyard. This type of mud waste often contains debris with sharp edges, which may lead to germs entering through wounds if you are cut by the broken pieces.


Although there may be a shortage of clean water, in the case of an injury from debris in mud waste, please wash the wound carefully with water first. Washing with water is more effective and important than applying a disinfectant. If you have diabetes, the wound may not heal well. Furthermore, if you develop a fever, or the wound becomes hot and swollen following the injury, see a doctor as soon as possible.


Additionally, as the mud dries and becomes dust, there is a risk of dust inhalation containing germs during clean-up operations. Therefore, appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, boots, and masks is highly recommended during cleaning or rescue operations following a disaster. Tetanus vaccinations should also be considered for those engaged heavily in recovery operations after disasters.


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The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 6th and 20th September 2019 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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