Why hasn’t the extent of the Fukishima disaster been made available to Canadians? What are you doing to help Canadians in the higher risk areas? Why hasn’t there been more effort been made to pressure Japanese authorities to manage the disaster sight effectively?

Fukushima was obviously a very high-profile incident and has generated a lot of questions. We’ve done our best to respond to your inquiries below.

To your first point, we would take the position that the extent of the Fukushima disaster has been made available to Canadians. More than two years after the initial incident the event continues to be reviewed in enormous detail by various agencies worldwide. For example, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission provided up-to-date information in the days and weeks following the tsunami and continued to do so well after the event. They have a lot of information on their website, such as the post, “Fukushima, one year later.” There are several links on this page which lead to further information.

Another suggestion would be to visit Health Canada’s website. There are many pages there with additional information on the Fukushima incident, including Radiation Monitoring Data, and information on some of the first debris that washed up on Canadian soil. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization published a report entitled, “Health risk assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.” The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) has a webpage focused on the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, and the World Nuclear Association published their own detailed report of the accident and the actions that have been taken to date. All of these resources are publicly available to Canadians.

Looking forward, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) is in the process of finalizing a major study to assess the radiation doses and effects from Fukushima. More details on this report can be found here.

In response to your second question regarding what we are doing to help Canadians in higher risk areas, we must point out that there are in fact no higher risk areas in Canada as a result of the Fukushima incident. This is demonstrated in some of the references mentioned above, particularly the radiation monitoring data provided by Health Canada. The amount of measurable fallout in Canada was absolutely minimal.

Regarding your third point, there has in fact been enormous pressure on Japanese authorities to manage the disaster site, although the magnitude of these efforts is more difficult to quantify. As just one example, the IAEA has publicly called for improvements at the Fukushima site as recently as April 2013. International pressure has also been credited with Tepco moving up the timetable for the removal of spent fuel rods from the site, as well as for their more detailed investigation into the radiation doses received by their workers.

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