News from ISGlobal
In the unlikely but not impossible case of a future nuclear accident, what should be done – or not - to improve the health surveillance and living conditions of affected populations without generating collateral damage or unnecessary anxiety? This is what the EC-funded project SHAMISEN, coordinated by ISGlobal, has tried to address over the last 18 months with an analysis of lessons learned from Chernobyl and Fukushima.
The result is a document with 28 recommendations to improve the preparedness and response to a radiation accident. “The document is a roadmap addressed to professionals and national and regional authorities to avoid repeating past mistakes” says Elisabeth Cardis, project coordinator and head of the Radiation Programme at ISGlobal.
Participants from 19 European and Japanese institutions made a critical review of the response to previous accidents, particularly Chernobyl and Fukushima. One of the main lessons drawn is that the impact of a nuclear accident goes well beyond direct radiation effects and includes considerable psychological, social and economic consequences. Another major lesson is that some decisions taken to protect the populations can in fact cause collateral damage. For example in Fukushima, no death related to radiation exposure was reported but the evacuation caused more than 600 premature deaths, particularly among the elderly and the critically ill patients who were evacuated under inadequate conditions.