Statement on the Current Crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants: Message from the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (No. 2)

On March 15, we stated,
“The recent accidents at Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plants are severe and beyond the scope of nuclear-reactor design conditions. An extremely serious situation is continuing.”
Unfortunately, this statement remains true today.

2. This crisis will not be overcome without the tremendous efforts of the many people currently working at these plants. Despite the danger of possible exposure to high levels of radiation, they are working extremely hard to avoid devastating consequences. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to these people.

3. Since the start of this crisis, many people have asked us the question, “How far away from the nuclear plants should we go to be safe.”

4. This is not an easy question to answer because information about the current situation at these nuclear plants is limited, making it difficult to predict what will happen next. The decision of whether or not to move depends not only on the distance a person is from the nuclear plants and the level of radiation. Other factors, including the person's family structure, living environment, relations with other people, possibility of finding a secure evacuation place, and means of transportation, also need to be considered.

5. Effects of radioactivity are especially severe for pregnant women (and babies in the womb), infants, and children. These people should go as far away from the Fukushima Nuclear Plants as possible.

6. If evacuation is not an option, it is important to stay inside a building and avoid contact with the outside air. It is especially important not to get wet in the rain or snow.

7. So far, large amounts of radioactive materials have not been released. In the worst case, however, a disaster involving the release of large amounts of radiation could occur. It is clear that, if this happens, the current evacuation zone set by the Japanese government is not large enough.

8. Possible worst case scenarios include 1) the complete meltdown of the nuclear fuel as a result of a further lowering of the water level within one or more of the nuclear reactors, 2) a large-scale explosion, and 3) the release of a large amount of radiation from the spent fuel storage pools.

9. The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) should release all information about any new developments that could lead to such disastrous situations as quickly and accurately as possible. Publishing radiation measurements in a timely manner is particularly critical. Radiation measurement is being done not only by the government and TEPCO, but also by local and municipal units. The government should assemble these data and establish a system accessible to everyone.

Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
Akebonobashi Co-op 2F-B, 8-5 Sumiyoshi-cho,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0065, Japan

Philip White
International Liaison Officer
Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
Phone: 81-3-3357-3800 (office)