Summing up Fukushima
About 60 people died immediately during the actual evacuations in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011. Between 2011 and 2015, an additional 1,867 people in Fukushima Prefecture died as a result of the evacuations following the nuclear disaster. These deaths were from ill health and suicides.
From the UNSCEAR estimate of 48,000 person Sv, it can be reliably estimated (using a fatal cancer risk factor of 10% per Sv) that about 5,000 fatal cancers will occur in Japan in future from Fukushima’s fallout. This estimate from official data agrees with my own personal estimate using a different methodology.
In sum, the health toll from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is horrendous. At the minimum
- Over 160,000 people were evacuated most of them permanently.
- Many cases of post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders arising from the evacuations.
- About 12,000 workers exposed to high levels of radiation, some up to 250 mSv
- An estimated 5,000 fatal cancers from radiation exposures in future.
- Plus similar (unquantified) numbers of radiogenic strokes, CVS diseases and hereditary diseases.
- Between 2011 and 2015, about 2,000 deaths from radiation-related evacuations due to ill-health and suicides.
- An as yet unquantified number of thyroid cancers.
- An increased infant mortality rate in 2012 and a decreased number of live births in December 2011.
Non-health effects include
- 8% of Japan (30,000 sq.km), including parts of Tokyo, contaminated by radioactivity.
- Economic losses estimated between $300 and $500 billion.
New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts.
“The Fukushima accident is still not over and its ill-effects will linger for a long time into the future … 2,000 Japanese people have already died from the evacuations and another 5,000 are expected to die from future cancers.”
Official data from Fukushima show that nearly 2,000 people died from the effects of evacuations necessary to avoid high radiation exposures from the disaster.
The uprooting to unfamiliar areas, cutting of family ties, loss of social support networks, disruption, exhaustion, poor physical conditions and disorientation can and do result in many people, in particular older people, dying.
Increased suicide has occurred among younger and older people following the Fukushima evacuations, but the trends are unclear.
A Japanese Cabinet Office report stated that, between March 2011 and July 2014,56 suicides in Fukushima Prefecture were linked to the nuclear accident. This should be taken as a minimum, rather than a maximum, figure.