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New Recommendations to Deal with Possible Nuclear Accidents


 

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 (Barcelona Institute for Global Health).


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 includesconsiderable 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. Moreover, systematic thyroid screening in children generated unnecessary anxiety among parents and in some cases led to unnecessary surgeries.   

 
BRIEF PUBLIC SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
DETAILED SUMMARY INFOGRAPHY

You can download the whole recommendations from here.

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 (Barcelona Institute for Global Health).

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 includesconsiderable 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. Moreover, systematic thyroid screening in children generated unnecessary anxiety among parents and in some cases led to unnecessary surgeries.   

On the basis of these and other lessons, and after a consultation process with national and international stakeholders, SHAMISEN developed 28 recommendations to improve the preparedness (before) and the early, intermediate and late recovery response (during and after) of a radiation accident. Each recommendation includes a ‘why’ (based on lessons learned) a ‘how’, and a ‘who’ (those responsible of implementing the recommendation).

The document highlights the importance of planning the response “in times of peace” and includes recommendations to improve training of professionals, establish disease registries to know whether these diseases increase after the accident, and establish evacuation protocols and routes if necessary. Recommendations ‘during’ the response include providing timely and reliable information on the accident situation and associated risks, and ensuring collection of radiation dose data. For the ‘after’, the main recommendations include establishing a dialogue between experts and affected communities with the help of local facilitators, and providing support to populations that wish to make their own dose measurements so they can take informed decisions (e.g. what food they eat or if and when they return to their homes).  Recommendations also include providing health screening of populations on a voluntary basis and with adequate counselling to avoid unnecessary anxiety, and launching long-term public health studies only when informative and sustainable over time. All recommendations were developed taking into consideration the cross-cutting issue of ethics and the involvement of local stakeholders, including the population.

The SHAMISEN consortium will now make sure that these recommendations reach all relevant stakeholders (including local and national authorities and European and International organisations) so that they may guide policies aimed at improving the health and living conditions of populations affected by radiation accidents.

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Caractérisation de l’exposition aux radiofréquences (RF) induite par les ouveaux usages et les nouvelles technologies des systèmes de communications mobiles (CREST)

In the 1990’s, mobile phones were mainly used close to the head for voice calls. Much work has gone into characterising this kind of exposure. New technologies and devices, however, have lead to a rapid evaluation of uses, with phones, tablets, portable computers and other devices being used to surf the internet, download data and send text and video messages. At the same time, new types of networks (Wifi, LTE) and network configurations (Femtocell) are rapidly being developed, leading to different RF exposure distributions in the population. We have little information, currently, concerning the patterns of use of mobile communication devices and technologies in the population or their impact on personal RF exposures. This is an important limitation for exposure assessment in epidemiological studies and for the assessment of the potential health impact of RF in the general population. The main objective of CREST, therefore, is to characterize RF exposure from new mobile sources (including smartphones, tablets, laptops) in the general population as a function of technology and new uses related to these technologies. In order to achieve this objective, we have several operative objectives: 
1. The conduct of a general population survey (based on a questionnaire and an APP on smartphones) to characterise typical uses (surfing, voice calls, data download, text messages, etc.) in different contexts (home, work, school, transport, etc.) and positions (device close to the head, on the lap, etc.);

2. The evaluation of power emitted by different mobile sources, based on existing measurements and tools (mobile test system (TEMS)), for different uses (voice call – on standard networks or VoIP), close to the head or using loud-speaker or hands-free kits; data use (3G, LTE, Wifi, Femto cells);

3. The evaluation of exposure related to different uses and positions, based on a compilation of existing dosimetric data and additional measurements for specific configurations. Specific dosimetric studies will be conducted if necessary ;

4. The development of RF exposure matrices for different devices, technologies and uses based on data on typical uses and related exposure derived within the project. These matrices will be an important asset for exposure estimation in the general population and in epidemiological studies.

Work in this project will be carried out by two complementary teams (epidemiologists and engineers) who will collaborate to achieve the project’s objectives. The plan of work will be developed jointly and specific activities conducted in parallel. The work is broken down into 5 complementary Workpackages as follows :

WP1. Characterisation and evaluation of uses in the general population

WP2. Identification and characterisation of networks and systems – existing and foreseen – that can be used for the uses identified in WP1.

WP3. Evaluation of emitted power for the sources identified in WP2

WP4. Evaluation of exposure related to different uses and functions

WP5. Development of appropriate indicators to quantify RF exposure related to new devices, uses and technologies.

The estimated project duration is 36 months.

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