By Romeo St-Martin
Canadian Nuclear Association
With little media coverage and even less fanfare, the United Nations released a report in April that dispelled one of the most popular myths regarding the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said in a report it did not expect “significant changes” in future cancer rates that could be attributed to radiation exposure from the reactor meltdowns.
“The doses to the general public, both those incurred during the first year and estimated for their lifetimes, are generally low or very low. No discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants,” the report concluded.
While the report clears radiation from negative health impacts, it noted that those in the areas affected by the meltdown were not immune to other health impacts.
“The most important health effect is on mental and social well-being, related to the enormous impact of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, and the fear and stigma related to the perceived risk of exposure to ionizing radiation,” it said.
“Effects such as depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms have already been reported.”
So fear about the exposure to radiation was more of a health problem than radiation exposure itself.