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The role of radiological protection experts in stakeholder involvement in the recovery phase of post-nuclear accident situations: Some lessons from the Fukushima-Daïchi NPP accident


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Feedback experiences from Fukushima and Chernobyl situations have clearly shown the importance of involving local stakeholders living in contaminated territories for the rehabilitation of their daily life. In this context, this paper aims to better address the role of radiological protection experts in the recovery phase of post-nuclear accident situation, in mainly relying on the analysis of local initiatives implemented in the Fukushima Prefecture following March 2011. In the first part, this paper highlights the various challenges faced by the population living in contaminated territories, i.e., rehabilitation of the living conditions, ensuring a long-term radiological monitoring, developing public health programs. In a second part, this paper discusses to which extent radiological protection experts can help local population to address these challenges, particularly through the implementation of co-expertise processes and the associated ethical issues and values they should embody. The last part of this paper particularly focuses on two current challenges at stake in the Fukushima Prefecture: the dissemination of the co-expertise process to all affected communities, as well as the sustainability of these approaches over time.
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The role of radiological protection experts in stakeholder
involvement in the recovery phase of post-nuclear accident
situations: Some lessons from the Fukushima-Daïchi NPP
Thierry Schneider
, Mélanie Maître
, Jacques Lochard
, Sylvie Charron
, Jean-François Lecomte
Ryoko Ando
, Yumiko Kanai
, Momo Kurihara
, Yujiro Kuroda
, Makoto Miyazaki
, Wataru Naito
Makiko Orita
, Noboru Takamura
, Koichi Tanigawa
, Masaharu Tsubokura
and Tetsuo Yasutaka
Nuclear Protection Evaluation Center (CEPN), 28 rue de la Redoute, 92260 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.
Nagasaki University, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute, Nagasaki, Japan.
Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN), Fontenay-aux-Roses cedex, France.
Ethos in Fukushima/ NPO Fukushima Dialogue, Fukushima, Japan.
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Japan.
National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST), Chiba, Japan.
Fukushima Medical University (FMU), Fukushima City, Japan.
Received: 18 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019
Abstract Feedback experiences from Fukushima and Chernobyl situations have clearly shown the
importance of involving local stakeholders living in contaminated territories for the rehabilitation of their
daily life. In this context, this paper aims to better address the role of radiological protection experts in the
recovery phase of post-nuclear accident situation, in mainly relying on the analysis of local initiatives
implemented in the Fukushima Prefecture following March 2011. In the rst part, this paper highlights the
various challenges faced by the population living in contaminated territories, i.e., rehabilitation of the living
conditions, ensuring a long-term radiological monitoring, developing public health programs. In a second
part, this paper discusses to which extent radiological protection experts can help local population to address
these challenges, particularly through the implementation of co-expertise processes and the associated
ethical issues and values they should embody. The last part of this paper particularly focuses on two current
challenges at stake in the Fukushima Prefecture: the dissemination of the co-expertise process to all affected
communities, as well as the sustainability of these approaches over time.
Keywords: radiological protection expert / local communities / co-expertise process / Fukushima / post-accident
1 Introduction
The Fukushima accident, as previously that of Chernobyl,
highlighted the importance of the involvement of local
stakeholders living in the contaminated areas especially for
the management of the recovery phase for allowing them to
take informed decisions as well as ensuring the effectiveness
and sustainability of protective actions. The support of national
and local authorities and radiological protection experts
a key role to initiate and accompany this stakeholder
involvement. Experience from Japan emphasizes the condi-
tions and challenges for a fruitful, sustainable and respectful
engagement of experts and their organizations.
The aim of this paper is in the rst part to review some
challenges in the recovery phase for local population, several
years after the Fukushima accident, taking into account the
lessons drawn on the past experiences from Belarus and
Norway on stakeholder involvement (Liland and Skuterud,
2013;Lochard, 2013). The issues at stake are mainly to
rehabilitate the living conditions, to ensure the long-term
radiological monitoring and to develop public health
programs. In the second part, the role of experts to accompany
the local population for addressing these challenges is
discussed particularly in relation with the co-expertise process.
*Corresponding author:
In this paper, radiological protection experts should be taken in a
broad sense, that is all experts contributing to address the radiological
consequences of a nuclear accident.
Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2019
Available online at:
This is an Open Access article distributed underthe terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution License (, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Finally, the dissemination of the co-expertise process to all
affected communities, as well as the sustainability of the
stakeholder involvement approaches are highlighted in the
last part.
2 Methodology
The analysis presented in this paper mainly relies on a
series of interviews of radiological protection experts and
stakeholders directly involved in local initiatives for the
recovery process in the Fukushima Prefecture. It also takes into
account the main lessons of the Fukushima Dialogue meetings
initiated by the International Commission on Radiological
Protection (ICRP) (Ban, 2016;Lochard et al., 2019).
Since the autumn 2011, a collaboration has been progres-
sively established between Japanese experts, local stake-
holders involved in the recovery process and French experts
from CEPN and IRSN through regular visits to local
communities affected by the Fukushima accident, the
participation together in various meetings as well as the
development of joint analyses. This collaboration gradually
allowed to better understand the role of radiological protection
experts to accompany the implementation of radiological
protective actions at the local level in the recovery phase of the
accident and, more particularly, in the co-expertise process
implemented in some communities. These ndings have been
regularly shared and discussed with a broader set of experts
and stakeholders in Japan and in France over the last years
(Gariel et al., 2018). Furthermore, in December 2017, a
seminar, jointly organized by Nagasaki University, CEPN and
IRSN, was held in Nagasaki to share the current experiences of
stakeholder involvement with experts from Japan, Europe and
international organizations, as well as professionals and
leaders from Fukushima Prefecture. A particular emphasis
was placed on better identifying and understanding the ethical
issues associated with stakeholder involvement, risk commu-
nication and the development of the practical radiological
protection culture in the recovery phase after a nuclear
Several initiatives of co-expertise in the recovery phase of
the Fukushima accident have been identied and reviewed in
order to investigate the challenges and difculties for
radiological protection experts to engage themselves in such
the initiative of the Suetsugi villagers with the support of
the NPO Ethos in Fukushimaand the involvement of
Fukushima Medical University experts;
the initiative of the municipality of the Kawauchi village
with the support of Nagasaki University;
the joint initiative of Tomioka city and Nagasaki university
following the lifting of the evacuation order;
the initiative of the municipality of Iitate village in the
context of the preparation of the lifting of evacuation order
with the support from Fukushima Medical University;
the involvement of the residents of Miyakoji village in the
measurements of their individual dose with the support of
Fukushima Medical University;
the initiative of citizens of Yamakiya village following the
lifting of evacuation order with the support of AIST.
These initiatives, located on Figure 1, are briey described
in the Box 1.
Figure 1. Location of the 6 initiatives of co-expertise detailed in this paper.
260 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
Box 1. A summary presentation of the co-expertise
initiatives having supported the present analysis
The Suetsugi community
Launched in 2017, this project, led by Fukushima
Medical University (FMU) in cooperation with the
Japanese NGO called ETHOS in Fukushima, aims to
create an Atlas retracing experience of the villagers of
Suetsugi since the accident (Ando, 2016;ICRP, 2016).
To this end, all the measurement data on the radiological
situation have been collected, interviews with the
inhabitants of the village were carried out, together
with the support of Hiroshima University. A video
and a
document presenting the history of the approach of the
inhabitants of the village of Suetsugi have been prepared.
In addition to the historical background, the aim of this
document is to identify the issues in terms of vigilance in
relation to the radiological situation, the methods for
disseminating the approach and the current and future
challenges for the residents of the village.
Analyzing the radiological measurement data collected
since 2011 contributes to highlight the evolution of the
situation after the accident and potentially constitutes a
database that could be exploited in the framework of a
more global analysis of the radiological situation of the
territories contaminated by the Fukushima accident.
Besides providing information on the radiological
characterization of the village, developing the Atlas
makes it possible to begin a work of memory for the
inhabitants of the village and gives them a unique
opportunity to be able to express their feelings compared
to what they lived and with regard to their future. It
should be noted that the project was designed to allow
the production of a document and a video without having
pre-established a method of dissemination. However, it
appears that the existence of this project allows project
owners and inhabitants to contact different organizations
and experts at local, national and even international
levels, engaging the inhabitants in a dynamic of sharing
their experience.
The Kawauchi village
The involvement of Nagasaki University with
Kawauchi village has evolved over time (Takamura
et al., 2018). Following the accident, 10 food contamina-
tion monitoring devices were set up and distributed in the
different areas of the village. Progressively, their number
has been reduced to 3, due to thedecrease of requests from
residents. Information is still provided to the residents and
regular exchanges with the local authorities are organized
on the evolution of the radiological situation of food and
exposures. Dedicated workshops are organized with
school students in Kawauchi village to develop their
awareness on the local radiological situation and each
year, a group of Kawauchi school students is visiting
Nagasaki University.
Nowadays, Nagasaki University relies on the
approach on risk communication developed in Kawau-
chi village to ensure the training of students coming from
Nagasaki University, FMU, as well as future teachers
from Fukushima Prefecture.
These different activities contribute signicantly to
maintaining the vigilance for Kawauchi residents,
reinforcing the sustainability of the strong partnership
between the local community and Nagasaki University.
The Tomioka town
Neighboring city of Kawauchi, Tomioka is considered
to be the twin city of Kawauchi. Therefore, right after the
Fukushima accident and the rst evacuation orders,
residents of Tomioka evacuated to Kawauchi before
evacuating further. The evacuation order of the town of
Tomioka has been lifted in April 2017 on 85% of its
territory. At the end of June 2019, only 1064 people out of
live in Tomioka and most of them are elderly
people or new workers of the Fukushima Nuclear Power
Plant. Based on its experience in Kawauchi, Nagasaki
University is involved in Tomioka, proposing and
adapting the actions which were implemented in
Kawauchi (Takamura et al., 2018). Therefore, group
discussions on radiological risk are proposed to the
residents of Tomioka. Similarly, home visits are organized
by experts from the Nagasaki University, as well as
measurements of the environment and the local products.
Technical assistance is also ensured several times per
week in the premises of the Municipality hall of Tomioka.
Actions at the Tomioka school are also conducted by
experts in order to raiseawareness of young children about
the radiological situation of their environment.
Nowadays in Tomioka, the major challenge is to
make newcomers aware about the radiological situation
of the city, and provide them radiological protection
advises. Also, since residents returning to live in
Tomioka are often isolated, experts try to ensure a link
between all the community members.
The Iitate village
The emergency phase (especially evacuation) as well
as medium and long-term upheavals in life resulting from
the accident induced not only physical and mental health
effects but also affected the social well-being of Iitate
evacuees.For instance, the changes in the living conditions
led to an increase in diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases,
obesity (because of a lack of physical activities), stress, etc.
Social factors such as the post-disaster losses of social
support and social capital have affected the well-being of
Iitate residents who were evacuated in temporary housing.
In such situation, community of health workers from the
village played a key role for the residents. They have been
at the forefront of dialogues with the residents since the
very early stage of the accident. Their role is to provide
community members health-related advice, but it has
become difcult in the nuclear accident aftermath (Kuroda
et al.,2018a,2018b). Together with a psychologist from
Regaining condence after the Fukushima accident: the story of the
Suetsugi Community, 2018.
html (in Japanese).
T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270 261
Fukushima Medical University, they initiated various
actions, especially, round-table dialogues in all Kasetsu
(temporary houses) and a nursery for young children from
Iitate. These dialogues allow villagers, especially young
mothers, to expose their concerns and worries such as
promiscuity problems, anxieties with regards to potential
health consequencesfor their children and food safety, etc.
The Miyakoji village
The Miyakoji village, located 20 to 30 km of the
Fukushima power plant, was evacuated at the time of the
accident. Due to the limited level of contamination of the
area, the order of evacuation was lifted on April 1
, 2014.
Several farmers have progressively restarted their activi-
ties, while others are still confronted to difculties or have
abandoned their activities. Social infrastructures, notably
the school, have been reestablished allowing to restart the
social life in the village. In June2019, the number of
residents living in Miyakoji was about 80% of the
population before the accident
. In this context, it should
be noted the key role of the support provided by
radiological protection experts, notably from Fukushima
Medical University, who set up a dialogue with local
residents and provided them the means to measure their
individual doses with the D Shuttledosimeter (Chiyoda
Technol, 2018). These measurements allowed the
residents to assess their own situation taking into account
the specic radiological situation in the village and
contributed to the decision of the residents to allow the
lifting of the evacuation order (Miyazaki, 2017).
The Yamakiya village
Yamakiya village was the only restricted area of
Kawamata town. The evacuation order of the Yamakiya
village has been lifted at the end of March 2017. In
June 2019, only 363 people
returned to Yamakiya out of
about 1200 who lived in the village before the accident
and most of them are elderly people.
The radiological characterization of the local
environment and the establishment of protective actions
have been performed with the experts from AIST, Chiba
university and different research organizations and
universities contributing to create the conditions for
understanding the local environment (e.g. soil, water and
forest) (Kurihara et al., 2018a,2018b;Tsuji et al., 2014).
However, after 2017, the interests of local people who
have returned or wanted to return gradually evolve from
environmental issues to social and economic issues such
as the restart of agricultural production.
In this context, the experts from AIST and local
population decided to organize an onsite interactive
learning activity program named Yamakiya Gakko
(Yamakiya School, held about 67 times a year) that
includes ower farm work assistance, wild plant survey
and dialogue with local residents mobilizing various
people from outside who contribute to the activities
(Yas u t ak a et al., 2019). The network around Yamakiya
Gakko is now a very informal one, operating on a
voluntary basis. Composed of about 100 people, this
network includes:
about 40% of researchers and their students from
universities inside and outside of the Fukushima
about 30% of researchers from research organiza-
about 30% of people from private companies,
ofcers of the local authority and government.
It should be noted that these volunteers help
Yamakiya residents on their spare time and their
involvement in the revitalization of this territory is
quite personal. However, when these people come to
participate in the activities, informal discussions take
place between these volunteers and the local population.
These exchanges address various issues, including not
only information on the radiological situation of the
territory and the dissemination of practical advice in
radiological protection but also local population interest,
e.g. latest knowledge of the ower cultivation, utiliza-
tion of the forest, etc.
3 What is at stake for people and
communities living in affected territories?
Several years after the accident, the main concern is
focused on psycho-socio-economic issues in order to ensure
the quality of the living conditions for people residing in
affected territories. The radiological situation remains an
important issue but the radiological characterization of the
territories has already been established and the decisions for
allowing or not people to live in the territories have been taken
(see contamination map provided in Fig. 2). Therefore, it is no
more the central issue, although there is a need to organize the
long-term radiological monitoring. In addition, besides the
possible radiation-induced health effects associated with
exposure to ionizing radiation, there is a general concern on
public health issues for the inhabitants in their daily life as well
as for possible health effects on future generations.
3.1 Rehabilitation of living conditions
One of the rst issues for the local communitiesfollowing the
accident concernsthe capability to restart agriculture activitiesas
well as the attractiveness of the affected areas for implementing
new economic activities (Baudé et al., 2016). It appears to be a
pre-requisite to envisage the possible future of the daily life in
affected territories. However, as in any industrialized country,
there is a trend in Japan itself for a desertication of the
countrysideand a decrease of the rural fabric,leading to the aging
of the agricultural population. Since 2011, this process has been
accelerated in the Fukushima Prefecture.
The main objective for local authorities is to re-create
decent living conditions with reference to the previous
situation before the accident and expecting to restore as fast
as possible similar conditions for the population living in
4 (in Japanese).
kyojyuujyoukyou.html (in Japanese).
262 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
affected territories. Public investments are made to reconstruct
or reinforce the public infrastructures related to transport (road,
railway), education and healthcare. After the Fukushima
accident, these infrastructures have been developed by local
authorities with a long-term perspective having in mind a
possible increase of residents, appearing sometimes dispro-
portionate with regard to the current situation (ex. schools
reopened in Kawauchi, Tomioka, Iitate).
Nevertheless, many obstacles and difculties appear
revealing the complexity and long-lasting consequences of
the post-accident situations with regard to the daily life (ex.
Yamakiya and Iitate with lack of manpower for farm activities).
Residents living in affected areas frequently express their
concern associated with the destruction of their local communi-
ty: they have no more the same neighbors, their family life is not
the same as before, there is no more the same number of children
at school, some residents have a different job, and the
commercial activities have signicantly changed following
the evacuation of some areas. In this context, people express a
lack of places of dialogue as well as their difculties to exchange
on their concerns, experiences and expectations with other
residents and with the local authorities (Kotoba, 2015).
In the evacuated territories arises the question of the
degradation of the houses as well as the public and community
places. The lack of human activity for several years has led to a
gradual deterioration of the premises that creates a complex
situation for residents expecting to return. In such a situation,
the preservation of heritage for future generations remains a
major concern for the local community.
It is worth to mention that, facing this situation, traditional
practices, which have been interrupted after the accident, are
now restored and seem to play a crucial role in the
rehabilitation of living conditions of communities following
the accident. These are festivals like in Suetsugi for example or
traditional dances like in Futaba. Similarly, the natural
heritage, the traditional economic or agricultural activities
are all elements that mark the history of the communities and
inuence the restart of their economic and social activities
(Lochard et al., 2019).
These specicities, however, constitute a difculty for the
central authorities, which are striving to propose a generic
program in order to facilitate rapid recovery of the situation.
This approach generally does not provide sufcient exibility
to take account of local specicities neither sufcient
involvement of local populations in the denition of these
3.2 Ensuring the radiological monitoring
Post-accident management experience from Chernobyl
and Fukushima has pointed out the crucial role of the
participation of the residents to the radiological characteriza-
tion of the territories for people living in affected areas (Ando,
For assessing external exposure of people living in affected
territories, several experiences of local communities have
emphasized the need to go beyond the measurements of dose
Figure 2. Ambient dose rates map within the Fukushima Prefecture, as of November 15th, 2018 (source: Geospatial information authority of
Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructures, Transport and Tourism).
T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270 263
rates used to delineate the different zones. For this purpose, the
development and diffusion of individual dosimeters in the
following years after the Fukushima accident signicantly
contribute to make objective the situation at stake, taking into
account local characteristics as well as habits of each
individual. Several publications have shown that actual
individual doses could be 4 to 5 times lower than those
estimated with the representative dose rates of the areas. (Naito
et al., 2016,2017;ICRP, 2016).
The contamination of food products has in a rst phase
been a major concern of the population in the affected
territories. However, after several years, many people express
a progressive disinterest in the monitoring of food products. As
soon as the radiological situation is characterized, if the results
of measurements show a low contamination of the food
products (Fig. 3), the concern and the vigilance are then likely
to decrease.
Facing this situation, there is therefore a real challenge to
put in place with local communities, actions that arouse their
attractiveness. It is essential, for radiological protection
experts, to avoid relying solely on scientic considerations
to deepen knowledge about the evolution of the radiological
situation in the environment. In this context, actions are being
taken to set up new cooperation frameworks involving local
population and local authorities with the support of experts and
universities such as in Kawauchi, Suetsugi or Yamakiya.
Another issue concerns the large program of deconta-
mination set up in the following years after the accident. This
program reects a willingness to recover and to clean as much
as possible the affected territories. One drawback of this
program is notably the large production of waste accumulated
in the temporary storage sites located in the villages
, with a
variety of contamination levels but with a large part with low
radiological concentration (under 8000 Bq/kg). Currently, the
authorities are developing the waste management strategy to
progressively evacuate the waste packages stored in each
municipality to various waste storages and disposals depend-
ing on the radiological concentration. There is still a signicant
concern for local population on the transport and presence of
radioactive waste in their local environment, mainly leading to
a landscape degradation.
The radiological contamination of forests also remains a
concern for many residents. In some areas, the forests are still
inaccessible while in other areas, it is mainly the picking of
some types of mushrooms and wild plants (sansai) that is
prohibited. Several actions have been launched to evaluate the
doses received during stays in the forest areas for recreational
activities and the radiological monitoring of the products
collected in the forests is carried out regularly in many
municipalities, for example in Kawauchi, Iitate, Suetsugi,
Yamakiya. For a large part of the population, rehabilitating the
forest areas is a challenge that needs to be addressed. Even
though several research institutes are engaged in decontami-
nation experiments on forest areas, this decontamination
strategy represents a real challenge while questioning the
relevance and the capacity to undertake such decontamination
3.3 Developing public health program
Shortly after the accident, the Prefecture set up the
Fukushima Health Management Surveyincluding a "basic
survey" (behavior during the following months after the
accident), a thyroid ultrasound examination, a complete health
check of former residents, a survey on the psychological state as
well as the lifestyle adopted and nally, a survey dedicated to
pregnant women and their newborns (Kumagai and Tanigawa,
2018). In addition,mobile devices for whole body contamination
monitoring were set up in response to the concerns of the
populations affected by the accident (Hayano et al.,2015).
Several years after the Fukushima accident, there are still
strong public concerns of local populations about the potential
health consequences of living in the contaminated territories,
especiallyfor their children.To improvethe interaction withlocal
populations, diverse forms of dialogue and communication
actions with various groups of populations have been
progressively developed. The training of health professionals,
Figure 3. Foodstuff monitoring results. Synthesis of the analyses carried out within the Fukushima Prefecture from April 1st to October31st,
2018 (source: Fukushima Prefecture).
Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Environmental Remediation
in Affected Areas in Japan, May, 2019.
264 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
notably Public Health Nurses, has been put in place (Goto et al.,
2018). Several radiological protection experts have also been
involved in the training of staff from local municipalities, to
support them to interact with local people living in contaminated
territories and to favor the implementation of public health
programs addressing the consequences of the accident.
More broadly, the modications of the demography of local
communities and of their daily life after the Fukushima accident
call for an evolution/adaptation of the healthcare system itself.
Besidesthe traditionalrole of the healthcare system, newroles are
devoted to health professionals following the nuclear accident
(Nishikawa et al.,2016). Among them, there is clearly an
increasing role on social and psychological supportto be provided
to local communities as wellas to accompany the development of
the radiological monitoring at the service of local people
including the promotion of places of dialogue. In addition, the
increasing proportionof elderly people in local communities and
the decrease of local populations in some areas imply to adapt the
health infrastructure. However, there is a strong commitment of
local and regional authorities to reinforce the health infrastructure
dedicated to people living in affected areas and to anticipate the
possible evolution of the areas. Finally, health effects have been
observed associated with changes in the life style of affected
population s due to signicant social, economic and psychological
disturbances induced by the accident (Hasegawa et al.,2016). In
response to this situation, there is a need for adapting the
healthcare system to better address the general well-being of local
communities living in affected territories.
4 The role of radiological protection experts
As mentioned in the previous part, populations living in
territories affected by the Fukushima accident are facing various
issues as, among others, the radiological situation of their
environment and its possible impacts on human health. Shortly
after the Fukushima accident, in a climate of mistrust towards the
authorities and ofcial institutions, some communities decided to
take initiatives, in order to better understand their situation and
build progressively their own references. These actions took
different forms, as for instance the mapping of the local
contamination, the monitoring of internal and external expo-
sures, decontamination works or even the monitoring of local
foodstuff. Therefore, all these initiatives have allowed local
people to make radioactivity visibleand to better grasp the
issues related to their environment. It should be highlighted that,
while authorities have been left out of these initiatives,
radiological protection professionals and experts in radiological
protection have been invited by local people to support them,
notably for doing measurements and analyse the results, as well
as answering to their questions and worries. In this way, some
professionals and experts have gradually engaged themselves
voluntarily at the service of the population in the so-called co-
expertise processes.
4.1 The co-expertise process in post-accident
situations and the key role of radiological protection
As it was already the case following the Chernobyl
accident (Lochard, 2013), feedback experiences from the
Fukushima accident clearly pointed out that radiological
protection experts can play a key role for the empowerment of
affected people through the co-expertise process. It appears
that the role of these experts can take various aspects,
beginning with the joint characterisation of the radiological
situation with the local populations. However, it should be
mentioned that, as experts are already aware about the
radiological situation, the rst challenge for them is to learn to
open their mind to the concerns and worries, but also the
expectations expressed by local populations focused on both
the day to day life and the possible future. From there, experts
can dene, jointly with the population, a radiological
monitoring which corresponds to local needs and specicities.
This challenge is the heart of the co-expertise process, namely:
considering not only the scientic knowledge, but also the
contribution of local populations who can provide accurate
information about their local environment and their habits. On
this basis, experts can also play an important role to identify,
with the help of local populations, possible protective actions
to improve the current situation, whether at individual or
community levels, as well as to allow people to take decision
about their future in a more informed way. All along the co-
expertise process, experts are also involved in helping local
people to better understand the various issues related to
radiological protection. Therefore, for the experts, the
challenge consists in identifying practical and accurate
information, which will be useful for the residents in their
daily life. In fact, the aim is not to promote a scientic and
technical knowledge, but rather to provide practical advices in
radiological protection which will help people to regain control
of their situation and to take informed decision (Takamura
et al., 2016).
Furthermore, it is important to have in mind that
radiological protection expertswork not only relies on their
own efforts but also on public authoritiesones, notably from
the municipalities. Indeed, in the case of co-expertise
processes, radiological protection experts can play a key role
to relay the expectations and priorities of local population
directly to the local authorities which can therefore adapt their
strategies. However, radiological protection experts can also
be involved through the local authorities themselves. From
there, the expected role of radiological protection experts is to
support authoritiesneeds regarding for instance the develop-
ment of a practical radiological protection culture, or the
practical implementation of decontamination or public health
programs (Murakami et al., 2017). In this particular case,
experts bring their scientic knowledge while local authorities
bring the local knowledge about health and environmental
status as well as the direct contact with their citizens.
Moreover, and as mentioned before, the post-accident
situation affects all dimensions of daily life and so, local
population is clearly not only facing issues related to
radioactivity. In this context, experts should develop and
implement strategies at the service of improving living
conditions as a whole. Once again, this is a real challenge for
them, as they have to open up and consider many complex
issues sometimes out of the scope of their own professional
skills. For instance, some inhabitantsconcerns can deal with
health issues, loss of their job, separation from their family
members, discrimination and stigmatisation from the others,
difcult access to healthcare, etc. For all these issues, experts
T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270 265
cannot claim to have all the answers. They need to develop a
multidisciplinary approach, call on other experts (psycho-
logists, economists, medical doctors, etc.) and extend the co-
expertise process to them. The experts also need to commit
themselves for a long-time.
Nevertheless, post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima situa-
tions have clearly shown that, in many cases, co-expertise
processes are successful and allow local people to cope with
their situation (Ando, 2018). In addition to acquiring a
practical radiological protection culture, local populations also
succeed to take control of their daily life, and so, regain
autonomy to make their own choices in a more informed way.
In other words, it could be said that co-expertise processes
propose a way to restore dignity of populations living in
contaminated territories. And that is why it is important to
highlight that the personal engagement of experts in co-
expertise processes is essential, although some ethical issues
can be raised.
4.2 Ethical challenges that are facing radiological
protection experts
As seen before, the empowerment of populations living in
contaminated territories, thanks to the co-expertise process, is
a key element to improve their well-being. However, the role
played by the experts in these initiatives could be subject to
some questions and even criticisms. Indeed, the empowerment
of local populations could be interpreted by some as a strategy
to let them manage their situation alone, with no support from
the public authorities. Moreover, the close relationship
between experts and local populations could also be seen as
a risk of manipulation by experts, forcing people to live in
contaminated territories and ensuring them that everything is
safe. Therefore, to overcome this criticism, experts should
respect and behave according to some ethical values (ICRP,
2018;Lochard, 2016;Oughton, 2016).
First, experts have to respect the ethical value of
benecience/non-malecence. Their role is indeed to organize
a long-term vigilance of the territory and to ensure the
environmental and health surveillance of the populations.
Experts have also the duty to improve the well-being of the
population, by notably considering all dimensions of well-
being, and not only the radiological aspect.
Another challenge for the experts is to respect the dignity
of individuals living in contaminated territories, allowing them
to make informed decisions. To that extend, experts have to put
aside their own convictions to accompany people and help
them to make their opinion, without inuencing them.
However, it should be noted that this autonomy does not
correspond in any way to an isolation of the individuals. On the
contrary, it stresses the importance of having a balanced
relationship between the concerned parties, notably experts,
local populations and public authorities.
Experts have also to take actions according to justice and
equity between individuals and local communities. Indeed,
experiences from Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown that
situations and expectations can vary from one community to
another, and radiological protection issues can be quite
different. Thus, this is the role of experts to adapt their
expertise to each local specicity and individuals need,
without any preference or special privilege. On this basis,
experts have to promote fair access to measurements,
monitoring devices and information on the situation. However,
this does not mean that experts should highly encourage each
person to take measurements or to question their environment.
Experts should of course respect the choice of those who do not
wish to be involved in the co-expertise process.
The notion of transparency is also important insofar as any
co-expertise process requires the respect of rules of coopera-
tion between the various stakeholders. Sharing of measure-
ment results and their analysis to all members of the
community is a key point on which experts have to contribute.
One of the ethical challenges is to ensure sufcient
protective measures be implemented by authorities to avoid
unacceptable individual risk taking into account the remaining
uncertainties on the effects of radiation at low doses.
Therefore, radiological protection experts have to support
the optimisation principle aiming to maintain or reduce
exposures as low as reasonably achievable, considering the
socio-economic aspects (ethical value of prudence as well as
consideration on accountability).
Before concluding this part, it should be highlighted that
uncertainties underlie all the assessment and the management
of radiological risk. In this sense, experts have to acknowledge
the difculty to manage post-accident situations. Their role
still remains to provide protection and to avoid any
unacceptable risks for local populations; this is their
4.3 The embodied values of radiological protection
The analysis of co-expertise processes implemented in
contaminated territories following Chernobyl or Fukushima
accidents show that, in addition to respecting the ethical values
mentioned above, experts often adopt a particular posture,
dialogue with affected populations requiring experts to
demonstrate some human qualities.
Indeed, experts involved in co-expertise processes often
have a certain capacity of listening and receiving what the local
populations want to share with them. In this way, experts can
better understand the local needs and concerns, and so develop
the most appropriate and accurate protective actions with them.
The role of experts, as we have seen, is not to force
countermeasures on the inhabitants, but on the contrary, to
respect their choices and to share their doubts. In that sense,
experts involved in co-expertise processes have to be
empathetic, and to know how to put themselves at the
service ofand certainly not in place of .
Moreover, the situation lived by the affected populations
calls on very different issues, within which the radioactivity is
not the single one. Experts have to acknowledge the
complexity of this situation. They are not able to provide
all the answers to the populationsexpectations, and in that
respect, experts have to be humble and accept to call on other
Likewise, experts have to show humility by acknowledging
the fact that they will never fully understand, as well as
the local populations do, the impact that may have a nuclear
accident on the daily life. In that sense, experts should not
266 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
place themselves as those who know what to do to protect people
and to improve their situation. Their role is rather to recognize
that the radiological contamination is not legitimate in their
territory, and that the rehabilitation process will be long, tedious
and cannot be done without the helpof local populations. In other
words, they should accept that their duty is not to work for the
population but to work with the population.
Finally, it should be highlighted that experts are both
involved with public authorities, local populations and other
stakeholders. They can be facilitator between these two, and
so, try to promote and coordinate actions implemented at local,
regional and national levels. As experts involved in co-
expertise processes are fully aware of the difculties faced by
local populations, they can also be a relay with the national and
international scenes, particularly to testify of the situation.
Feedbacks from post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima
situations show that, after many years of involvement with
local populations, experts have developed personal relation-
ship with them. Indeed, very often, experts continue to engage
themselves in contaminated territories during their personal
time when they are no longer representing their institutes. This
raises some questions about the sustainability of these co-
expertise processes. Also, it should be noted that involvement
with local community takes time. Therefore, it is not
manageable for the experts to duplicate as such their work
with all the other communities. A question can then be raised:
how to ensure the dissemination of these co-expertise
processes to other communities? These are examples of
challenges that Japanese communities are dealing with
nowadays, and which are further detailed on the last part of
this paper.
5 Main challenges for the radiological
protection experts
The Fukushima experience, like the Chernobyl one,
conrmed that radiological protection experts are generally
not prepared to deal with the complex consequences of nuclear
accidents. These difculties, which appear from the accident
phase, are still present today, as people living in contaminated
territories are still confronted with complex issues in their daily
life and so need to be supported by experts in the long term.
Today, several years after the Fukushima accident, it turns out
that experts are facing two main challenges in Japan:
the diffusion of the co-expertise processes, which need to
be extended to local communities which are not involved
and the sustainability of vigilance in the contaminated
5.1 Disseminating the co-expertise processes with
local communities
Experiences from post-accident management in Chernobyl
and Fukushima highlight some difculties in spreading
initiatives taken by some local communities to others, which
are facing similar situations. It turns out that, while local
communities involved in co-expertise processes can promote
these processes and share their results with other communities,
they generally do not have the legitimacy to support and
initiate new co-expertise in other territories.
For their part, radiological protection experts could play
this role, and so, try to initiate dialogue and sharing between
communities in order to help involvement of communities,
which have not started a co-expertise process yet. However, it
should be noted that the number of experts involved in such co-
expertise approaches remains quite limited.
Among the experts involved in the initiatives presented in
this paper, it should be noted the low involvement of experts
from public expert bodies, while experts from Universities,
health professionals as well as some citizens are more
involved. Among the reasons for the limited involvement of
experts in such processes, one can notice:
loss of condence in organizations and institutional experts
following the accident;
type of activities rarely registered in the missions of
institutional organizations;
lack of culture regarding the dialogue with stakeholders for
all experts;
apprehension of having to intervene in a situation in which
technical expertise is only one component.
There is no need for deep expertise in social sciences to be
able to intervene in these contexts but rather an awareness of
the human dimensions of the post-accident situation and the
willingness to open the dialogue and share views and expertise
with the stakeholders.
In addition, it is important to point out that co-expertise
processes can not be duplicated from one community to
another, they should rather be adapted to the local specicities
and the populationsneeds so that it could have real added
value for them. On this basis, some local initiatives can be
Nagasaki University, for example, has adapted the model
developed for the Kawauchi community to the Tomioka
community, whose evacuation order has been lifted in
April 2017. Therefore, actions provided to the Kawauchi
residents have been also implemented for the Tomioka
residents, adapting it accordingly with the local speci-
cities (elderly, isolated population, etc.). Nowadays,
experts from the Nagasaki University divide their time
among Kawauchi and Tomioka actions;
the ICRP dialogue initiatives, which are organised in
various communities affected by the Fukushima accident,
are also a way to share local initiatives and arouse interest
in new communities (Lochard et al., 2019).
Analysis of the Fukushima situation also shows that it is
important to encourage the implementation of coordination
structures, notably to allow a better sharing between experts
and communities. These kinds of network would be the
occasion to analyze and identify the strengths and weaknesses
of each co-expertise approaches, and so try to improve them.
These networks could also lead to share common tools, means
and efforts, while respecting autonomy to each expert and
community. In Japan, the implementation of such networks
still needs to be further developed. However, it should be noted
that, in the Fukushima Prefecture, some initiatives are
T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270 267
proposed by public authorities, as for example, the counselors
networkcoordinated by the Support Team, which aims to
gather all counselors who are in charge to support local
population with the radiological monitoring. Indeed, this
network allows counselors to share their daily activities, try to
solve some difculties that they are facing, etc. However, it
should be noted that this kind of network is focused on a single
issue: the radiological support, while many other issues are at
stake in contaminated territories. Networks proposing multi-
disciplinary approaches, and so gathering experts from various
background (sociology, economy, medicine, psychology, etc.)
should be highly encouraged.
So, today, several years after the accident, one of the main
challenges for the radiological protection experts is to
accompany the emergence of local coordination structures
which could stimulate the involvement of new communities, as
well as convince new experts to engage themselves in co-
expertise processes.
5.2 Ensuring the sustainability of the approach
Several years after the accident, the question of maintaining
vigilance arises with regard to the sustainability of local
initiatives. This issue has emerged similarly in initiatives
developed in post-accident management in Belarus or Norway
after the Chernobyl accident. Since the local populations have
been involved in a co-expertise process and have gradually
taken up the stakes of the local radiological situation, it is
necessary to identify the modalities for maintaining vigilance
over the long term. It is not possible for local populations to
remain mobilized on radiological characterization once the
measurements have been made. However, the maintenance of
vigilance appears necessary. On the one hand, the vigilance will
ensure that the protective strategies put in place to maintain
or reduce exposures are still effective and adapted to the
evolution of the environment and the socio-economic
situation. On the other hand, it will contribute to the spread of
the radiological protection culture to the next generations
(Tsubokura et al., 2018).
In this context, it is important to develop approaches that
make sense in the long term to mobilize the local populations
(identify the measures to be carried out and the frequency of
these to avoid the routine, identify the actions contributing to
the improvement of the quality of life over time, as well as to
the "monitoring" of the environment and the "well-being" of
local populations...).
The rst level of vigilance is based on the development of a
practical radiological protection culture and the maintenance
of awareness of what has happened. It is thus necessary to
redene the role of surveillance over time and progressively
maintain a minimum of radiological measurements while
becoming more involved in transmitting the memory of what
happened and has been done. The experience of Chernobyl has
shown that transmission of the memory allows local people to
maintain their vigilance with a new dynamic and give meaning
to their action. This transmission of memory starts with the
story-telling of what happened and concerns both the
dissemination of actions to other local communities and to
national and international communities as well as to younger
generations (Duranova and Averin, 2016). In this context, the
role of the expert is crucial to favor and support the
organization of the vigilance with local communities and to
contribute to organize the transmission of the radiological
protection culture to the young generations.
Several initiatives can be reported in this perspective:
the Atlas developed by the community of Suetsugi in
interaction with radiological protection experts, providing
a new dynamic several years after the accident, contributing
to sharing the experience together with mobilizing the
villagers to identify the key components for ensuring the
sustainability of radiological protection culture in their
daily life;
the involvement of Kawauchi village with Nagasaki
University in the dissemination of their experience with
the organization of training courses in their community and
the testimonies provided regularly by the residents;
the network of citizens set up to provide support to the
farmers of Yamakiya, initiated by radiological protection
Involving local communities in post-accident management
research at the regional, national and international levels also
contributes to maintain the vigilance on radiological protection
issues in the daily life. In providing testimonies on their
experience in research projects or workshops, local communi-
ties have to regularly review the current situation and to
evaluate the implementation of protection strategies. Experts
play a key role in this domain. This clearly shows the role of
approaches that do not leave the local population alone in the
organization of vigilance, requiring shared responsibility.
The second level deals with the socio-economic develop-
ment of the territories. The feedback from Chernobyl post-
accident management and the analysis of the current situation
in Fukushima Prefecture underline the importance of
integrating the vigilance on the radiological situation in
socio-economic projects supporting the development of the
territory. In fact, organizing the vigilance without ensuring the
socio-economic development of the territory has little chance
of lasting. For local populations, vigilance cannot be a project
in itself. Existence of local projects help to give meaning to the
lives of people in the territories and enable them to look to the
future. It is in this context that vigilance makes sense and can
contribute to the sustainability of the socio-economic
development ensuring due consideration to the radiological
context and providing the capacity for the local population to
maintain or reduce exposures as low as reasonably achievable
in a sustainable manner taking into account the specic
In this perspective, the role of radiological protection
experts focuses on the development, evaluation and support of
the implementation of these territorial projects to consider the
local radiological situation and its evolution. This role implies
an interaction with local populations, local and national
authorities as well as possible other stakeholders. This raises
the question of putting in place mechanisms, involving
stakeholders from different origins and allowing the emer-
gence and support of territorial projects taking into account the
radiological situation. The sustainability of these projects
largely relies on the allocation of sufcient and sustainable
resources dedicated to support the activities jointly developed
268 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
by local stakeholders and local authorities with radiological
protection experts, and addressing together a wide range of
issues of health and social life.
6 Conclusion
One of the main features concerning the role of
radiological protection experts in the recovery of post-accident
situation is to put the co-expertise process at the service of
improving the living conditions of the affected communities,
contributing to the development of an informed decision
process for the residents facing the situation. Among the
challenges to be dealt by radiological protection experts, there
is the need for establishing the conditions and means for
developing a shared representation of the radiological situation
between experts and the affected residents as well as an ethical
challenge regarding the position to adopt to ensure the fairness
of the engagement process respecting autonomy and justice for
the different populations affected.
In the recovery phase, the radiological protection issues
integrating health and environmental protection have to be
considered in a broader context where the main challenges are
related to the decent conditions of life and a sustainable socio-
economic development in the affected territories. For the
experts, engaging a pluri-disciplinary approach is essential and
calls for setting up cooperation processes with local stake-
holders and other experts from other disciplines and other
origins to address the key challenges notably the role of the
radiological monitoring, public health issues, socio-economic
issues, environmental management... The sustainability of the
life in the territories is at stake and radiological protection
issues need to be maintained, requiring for the experts to nd
their place in the long-term.
As discussed above, the traditional role of expert
assessing the situation and providing technical and scientic
advices for the improvement of the protection is no more
sufcient in the recovery situation. To implement the co-
expertise process with local stakeholders, experts and their
organizations need to revisit their skills and management.
It is important to be aware of the particular needs and
expectations of the affected people as well as challenges
beyond the radiological protection issues. It is also important
to be engaged on a step-by-step process, which evolves based
on various local, national, international factors and with time.
Having no unique approach, exibility is required both in
terms of mobilization of expertise as well as in terms of
means provided and process developed to accompany the
local initiatives. The mandate provided by the organizations
to their experts has to be adapted to the specic situation and
adequate support to the experts themselves has to be
considered. It is essential to organize an adequate sharing
of responsibilities and develop multilevel engagement
process of institutions and stakeholders including an
evaluation process for ensuring the implementation of an
efcient strategy.
Sharing experience from post-accident management on the
role of expert in involving local populations contributes to
improving the preparedness and developing a framework to
deal with recovery issues. Several European and international
are currently addressing this issue. Engaging
cooperation and developing education and training activities
with experts and organizations already involved in recovery
management are essential for really addressing the new role of
radiological protection expert in the development of co-
expertise processes at the service of local stakeholders.
This paper beneted from the main lessons of the
Fukushima Dialogue meetings initiated by the International
Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Analyses
partly funded by the TERRITORIES project (as part of the
CONCERT project) have been also considered for this paper.
TERRITORIES project has received funding from the
Euratom research and training program 2014-2018 under grant
agreement No. 662287. This publication reects only the
authors view. Responsibility for the information and views
expressed therein lies entirely with the authors. The European
Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of
the information it contains.
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270 T. Schneider et al.: Radioprotection 2019, 54(4), 259270
... Risk communication conducted in the wake of the earthquake, however, aimed at offering scientific advice and informing the populace about radiological protection. 7,8) Assessment of the status of recovery and reconstruction showed that advice on radiological protection was not sufficient and that there was a need to take on challenges other than radiological protection. 8) To do this, it was crucial for the residents, rather than the researchers/experts, to take initiative and set up a forum where all perceptions about radiation could be expressed. ...
... 7,8) Assessment of the status of recovery and reconstruction showed that advice on radiological protection was not sufficient and that there was a need to take on challenges other than radiological protection. 8) To do this, it was crucial for the residents, rather than the researchers/experts, to take initiative and set up a forum where all perceptions about radiation could be expressed. From the perspective of co-expertise between the residents and researchers/experts, it is necessary to consider not only the residents' perceptions, but also the explanations provided by the researchers/experts. ...
... The experts adopted a clear ethical position, respecting the freedom of people's choice, 40) considering the scientific knowledge and the contribution of local populations in providing accurate information about their local environment and habits. 8) This suggests that round table discussions help facilitate bidirectional relationships and contributions through co-expertise. ...
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A Town in Fukushima Prefecture evacuated its residents after a nuclear power accident 2011. We investigate a series of radiation risk communication round table discussions among the residents and researchers/experts over three years, beginning five years after the said evacuation order and ending one year after its partial lifting. By analyzing the language used in the sessions, we explore the residents’ perceptions of radiation, how they changed and the trends in the content of explanations provided in response to the questions. The conferences were transcribed and analyzed using language analysis software. These were divided into questions and explanation data groups. The former was associated with daily life matters, including health effects, diet, the evacuated town and annual changes in the decontamination progress and the cancellation of evacuation orders. Women focused on their offspring, while men focused on health topics and the future of nuclear power, as indicated by subject popularity. These questions were intended to confirm the authenticity of what residents heard from other people. The explanation data group was associated with radioactive materials’ characteristics, particularly the transfer mechanisms of cesium by nature. These explanations were related to health effects. Often, “It is thought” or “I think” was mentioned after giving information, probably to avoid assertions, entrust the questioner with decisions and foster radiation literacy.
... 3 Making sense of the nuclear accident and broken trust This section discusses the self-determination of the villagers and the responses of experts, which resulted in a collaboration between the two groups. Self-determination was perhaps key to the villagers' resilience under the difficult circumstances after the accident (Ando, 2018;Schneider et al., 2019). For example, under the leadership of Mr Nagasho, a district leader, Ookubo-Yosouchi district began various activities during the second phase. ...
... Creating the booklet involved many experts from different disciplines as well as the participation of local residents. It was in fact an example of the co-expertizing process (Schneider et al., 2019;Lochard et al., 2020) that has recently been highlighted in the area of radiation protection. ...
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This paper describes an exercise in helping scientific experts find common ground with local residents following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The first section discusses the effects of the accident in Iitate Village, which was fully evacuated after the accident, and the village’s sociocultural background, and presents a case study of a collaboration between experts and villagers in preparing an information booklet for the villagers. The second section discusses the potential for collaborations of experts in different disciplines to connect science and people, clarifies what experts learned from such a collaboration, and explains that cross-disciplinary collaboration is essential to avoiding confusion among residents. Concerns and questions from local residents were specific to their situation; residents needed specific information and advice on specific situations at specific times. The residents considered those concerns important and needed answers that would allow them to regain control over their lives. An information booklet was prepared to help local experts to build trust with the residents by providing them with the information they sought. The experts considered the process of developing the booklet to be a good example of collaboration with residents. Understanding the social values of residents, sharing those values, and making a commitment to the community were significant steps in building trust.
... After the disaster, experts provided support in terms of physical and mental health, as well as basic knowledge about radiation and alleviating related anxiety [10,11]. In supporting community reconstruction, the importance of collaboration among experts, government, and local residents while respecting the local climate and culture was proposed, rather than unilateral involvement by experts (co-expertise process) [12]. In particular, public employees play a core role in disaster recovery, and it is worth considering how to support them. ...
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Local government officials play a central role in post-disaster community reconstruction. However, few studies have reported on the actual difficulties during a complex disaster involving a nuclear accident. A self-rated questionnaire survey was administered to a total of 583 public employees in four municipalities around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The relationship between universal occupational factors and radiation disaster-specific factors on job satisfaction and intention to leave the job due to radiation anxiety was evaluated using structural equation modeling. The results showed that interpersonal problems (β = −0.246) and service years (β = −0.127) were related to job satisfaction, whereas radiation-specific factors were not related to job satisfaction, and only to the intention to leave work due to radiation anxiety. A sense of coherence was associated with job satisfaction (β = 0.373) and intention to leave work due to radiation anxiety (β = −0.182), and it served as a moderator of the universal occupational factors and the radiation disaster-specific factors. Therefore, it is suggested that outcomes could be improved through increased stress coping capacity by providing support for relationships and radiation risk communication to public employees during the disaster recovery period.
... all these articles were published in Open Access or free access; four articles were dealing with post-accidental situations (Bertho et al., 2019;Bottollier-Depois et al., 2019;Lochard et al., 2019;Schneider et al., 2019); two articles treated radiation therapy issues (Cosset et al., 2018;Thellier, 2019); one article was on non-ionizing radiation exposure (Point, 2018). ...
... The decision-making process concerning economic and social development, such as decisions relating to the implementation of protective actions, should be open to all stakeholders (inclusiveness), with honesty and openness (transparency), and with all the explanations concerning their justification (accountability). This implies a specific approach to expertise in which scientists, experts, and professionals not only make decisions but put themselves at the service of local stakeholders in order to facilitate the development of their capacity to assess and manage their own situation and that of affected areas (Schneider et al., 2019). It also involves monitoring and evaluating local projects with all stakeholders (co-assessment of the situation and issues) in order to adapt strategies and policies as the recovery process evolves. ...
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This paper does not necessarily reflect the views of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Beyond the consideration of radiological aspects, the rehabilitation of living and working conditions after a large nuclear accident is a complex process in which all dimensions of individual and community life are involved and interconnected. Responsibles of socio-economic entities are facing various difficulties/challenges, including the implementation of protective actions for ensuring the protection of employees, the continuity of production of good-quality products in affected areas, and restoring the confidence of consumers. For affected local communities, the deployment of a socio-economic programme is essential to enable a sustainable future while recognising that a return to the pre-accident situation is generally not achievable. In this context, supporting the societal and economic dynamics of the recovery process requires the adoption of specific governance mechanisms respecting a series of ethical and social values, as highlighted by lessons from the post-accident management of the Chernobyl and Fukshima accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants.
... In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, mental health patients continue to receive medical care [8], but people experience traumatic reactions and loss due to the disaster [9,10]. In the medium to long term, problems such as insomnia, depression, and alcohol dependence have been reported [11][12][13], and in the reconstruction period, re-separation of communities and the loneliness associated with moving to a new home have been reported [7,14,15]. ...
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This study analyzed the suicide mortality rate in 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture designated as evacuation areas following the 2011 nuclear disaster. Changes in suicide rates were examined using an exponential smoothing time series model. In the evacuation areas, the suicide rate of men increased immediately after the disaster and then decreased from 47.8 to 23.1 per 100,000 during about 1½ years after the disaster. However, with the lifting of the evacuation order, it again exceeded that of non-evacuation areas and continued to do so for the next 3 years. On the other hand, the suicide rate in women in the evacuation areas increased later than that in men. These results indicate the need for continuous support following the lifting of the evacuation order. In addition, it is necessary to enhance social networks, which continue to confer protection, because of the isolation of the elderly as highlighted in our previous study.
... Also noteworthy was that a citizens' group started its own activities to measure environmental radiation, aiming to guide autonomous decision making about daily activities (Ando, 2016). They also started dialogue meetings to discuss matters of daily life with domestic and international professionals (Schneider et al., 2019). These comprise just some of the services for evacuees provided through multiple channels, implemented by different organizations, and supported by various funding sources. ...
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Following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS) accident, numerous initiatives emerged to address the needs of evacuees, including those eligible to return home. These came from multiple channels, timely in many cases, but in retrospect, needing better coordination. By embracing eHealth, we are attempting to coordinate efforts in Fukushima intended to link returnees with health information and care providers, not only for radiological protection in particular, but also for health promotion in general. We aim to establish a comprehensive support system for residents in municipalities around the FDNPS by developing a digital application for interactive communication regarding radiation and health promotion and to link the tool to other resources provided by local health care providers and radiation specialists. This paper explains the progress of our innovative trial to introducing eHealth in areas affected by the FDNPS accident. Based on international recommendations for developing a digital tool in response to a nuclear accident, we designed a comprehensive support package including development and implementation of the application, data management, and health counselling and ethical considerations arising from such outreach. Our trial of connecting disaster-affected citizens to health services using informatics could serve as a model eHealth program for long-term restoration after a nuclear accident.
This paper describes the practice of dialogue between various stakeholders at the Round-Table project in Kashiwa, a radiation hotspot in the Tokyo suburbs after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, where the author played a central role. Kashiwa is both a dormitory town and an important production area for some vegetables, but its residents coming from different regions of Japan and working in Tokyo are not particularly attached to the area, so the dialogue and stakeholder involvement in Kashiwa faced different difficulties than those in Fukushima Prefecture. In this context, after months of deliberate discussions, the Round-Table decided on independent standard value and a protocol for measuring individual farmer’s vegetables and farmland soil. As a result of this optimization process, the farmers who participated in the Round-Table became involved in radiation protection as an extension of their ordinary marketing activities. This paper examines the achievements and failures of the “Eat and Support” campaign in Japan, and discusses the significance of the marketing concept in radiation protection and the strategy of extending trust from a small circle of producers and customers, based on the experience of Kashiwa.
Background: We conducted a cross-sectional study of residents within and outside Fukushima Prefecture to clarify their perceptions of the need for smartphone applications (apps) for explaining exposure doses. The results will lead to more effective methods for identifying target groups for future app development by researchers and municipalities, which will promote residents’ understanding of radiological situations.Materials and Methods: In November 2019, 400 people in Fukushima Prefecture and 400 people outside were surveyed via a web-based questionnaire. In addition to basic characteristics, survey items included concerns about radiation levels and intention to use a smartphone app to keep track of exposure. The analysis was conducted by stratifying responses in each region and then cross-tabulating responses to concerns about radiation levels and intention to use an app by demographic variables. The intention to use an app was analyzed by binomial logistic regression analysis. Text-mining analyses were conducted in KH Coder software.Results and Discussion: Outside Fukushima Prefecture, concerns about the medical exposure of women to radiation exceeded 30%. Within the prefecture, the medical exposure of women, purchasing food products, and consumption of own-grown food were the main concerns. Within the prefecture, having children under the age of 18, the experience of measurement, and having experience of evacuation were significantly related to the intention to use an app.Conclusion: Regional and individual differences were evident. Since respondents differ, it is necessary to develop and promote app use in accordance with their needs and with phases of reconstruction. We expect that a suitable app will not only collect data but also connect local service providers and residents, while protecting personal information.
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Abstract – The article presents the different stages of the co-expertise process, which took place in the community of Suetsugi located about 30 km South from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, to improve radiological protection and the living conditions of the residents. The originality of the process lies in the fact that it was initiated and led by residents of the community with the help of local leaders and volunteer experts. It was also followed regularly by some members of the ICRP. The first part of the article recalls the general characteristics of the co-expertise process for post-nuclear accident management. The second part presents the different stages of the process that took place in the community of Suetsugi. The third part draws some lessons from the experience, which has significantly contributed to enriching the formalisation of the co-expertise process in particular with regard to the recovery of social trust and the role and attitude of experts during the recovery phase after a nuclear accident.
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In its recommendations for the protection of people living in long-term contaminated territories after a nuclear accident, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) emphasizes the effectiveness of directly involving the affected population and local professionals in the management of the situation, and the responsibility of authorities at both national and local levels to create the conditions and provide the means favouring the involvement and empowerment of the population. In this perspective, ICRP initiated in the fall 2011 a dialogue between representatives of the Fukushima Prefecture, local professionals, local communities and representatives of Belarusian, Norwegian and French organisations to find ways to respond to the challenges of the long-term rehabilitation of the living conditions in the territories affected by the Fukushima nuclear power plant. After a first series of twelve “ICRP Dialogue” meetings between 2011 and 2015 closed by an international workshop, a group of local stakeholders took over and organized a new series of eight “Fukushima Dialogue” meetings between 2016 and 2018. The article gives an overview of the dialogue meetings initiated by ICRP in Japan after the Fukushima nuclear accident.
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The Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS) was implemented in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The primary purpose of this survey was to monitor the long-term health of residents, promote their future well-being and confirm whether long-term low-dose radiation exposure affects health. The FHMS results indicated very low-radiation exposure doses among residents and that no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects could be expected. However, psychological distress was found to be far greater among people in Fukushima than those in other areas affected by the accident's preceding Great East Japan Earthquake and the resultant tsunami. Additionally, prevalence of lifestyle-related health problems such as being overweight, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and liver dysfunction increased among evacuees. Thyroid examinations of asymptomatic individuals, using ultrasound techniques, also contributed to public concern and fear about the health effects of radiation. The FHMS ultimately revealed that ethical considerations are important in the design and implementation of health surveillance and epidemiological studies.
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Following the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, both experts and the national government provided insufficient information on radiation, leading to widespread distrust in the community. This study aimed at clarifying the association between anxiety about radiation and health literacy among residents in evacuation and non-evacuation areas in Fukushima. A questionnaire survey was sent to randomly sampled residents between August and October 2016, and data from 777 responses (38.9% valid response) were analyzed. The questionnaire assessed current radiation anxiety and discrimination and prejudice based on radiation exposure through seven items and communicative and critical health literacy through five items. Multiple regression analysis of the association between radiation anxiety and health literacy showed that the level of health literacy was significantly negatively associated with radiation anxiety in the evacuation areas (marginally in the non-evacuation areas) and marginally negatively associated with discrimination and prejudice in the evacuation areas but not in the non-evacuation areas. Therefore, improving health literacy could alleviate radiation anxiety.
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Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the risk factors for incident functional disability among long-term evacuees of Iitate village after Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster (GEJE). We also investigated the effectiveness of exercise classes as an intervention measure in this situation. Methods: 1159 subjects (75.2 ± 5.8 years, 57.5% female) were included at baseline, and followed-up for four years. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of incident functional disability according to the presence of risk factors evaluated by the municipality’s self-assessment Basic Checklist (BCL). Evacuees from Iitate who participated in the exercise classes and those who did not were matched using the propensity scores, which were then used to obtain the HR of incident functional disability. Results: New functional disability occurred in 280 (24.2%) participants during the follow-up. Participants who scored negative for the “Physical function” domain in the BCL had a HR of 2.04 (95% CI: 1.54⁻2.69) for incident functional disability when compared to those who scored positive for this domain. Similarly, the HR for “Cognitive function” was 1.37 (CI: 1.06⁻1.77), and 1.60 (CI: 1.24⁻2.08) for “Depression”. Using a Cox proportional hazard regression model, both the group with low-participation in the exercise program and the group with high-participation in the exercise program had a significantly lower rate of incident functional disability compared to those who did not participate at all (HR = 0.27, CI: 0.16⁻0.46; HR = 0.30, CI: 0.12⁻0.74, respectively). Conclusions: Pre-disaster BCL domains were useful to identify individuals at risk of functional disability after a major socio-technical disaster. Therefore, this instrument can be used to identify at-risk older adults who would benefit from early exercise programs to prevent incident functional disability.
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In post-Fukushima Japan, radiation education is very important, and the subject is being actively discussed. However, little information is available about the amount of knowledge students initially had about radiation or about how well radiation education improves their understanding. Using the questionnaire results of 717 students completed before and after radiation lectures held in three high schools in Fukushima, we examined the number of answers to the questionnaire aligned with the evidence base, and classified the students into clusters based on radiation-related behavior and attitudes to assess the effectiveness of the lecture. The contents of the lectures consisted of (i) scientific knowledge relating to radiation, (ii) results of radiation examinations conducted locally following the disaster and (iii) measures and precautions for daily radiation protection. Associations between the type of knowledge and radiation-related behavior and attitude were also examined to determine which type of knowledge was more important for deepening students' understanding of radiation. This study revealed that radiation education in high schools was effective for students with respect to acquiring relevant basic and practical knowledge; however, the effects of the radiation lecture differed greatly between schools, presumably due to differences in the delivery and atmosphere of the lecture. The present study also suggested that radiation education may positively transform student attitudes and behaviors related to radiation. To enable such a change in awareness, the acquisition of scientific knowledge is essential, for it enables individuals to make better decisions about important matters in their daily lives.
Seven years have passed since the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011. The actions taken by the Japanese government, such as issuing evacuation orders and setting decontamination and food safety standards, created huge confusion in society that led to a breakdown of trust. The residents of Suetsugi, a small village located about 30 km south of the plant, sought to understand and overcome the effects of radiation by measuring contamination and personal dose, etc. In my work through Ethos in Fukushima (a nonprofit organization in Iwaki, Fukushima), I learned that trust - not just measuring radiation or acquiring more scientific knowledge - has been the critical factor for them to regain a sense of order in their lives. The level of radiation has decreased since 2011; however, the community still struggles with rebuilding the community.
Since 2011, Nagasaki University has been assisting the reconstruction efforts of Kawauchi Village in the Fukushima Prefecture, which was the first village to declare it safe for residents to return to their homes. In April 2013, Nagasaki University and the Kawauchi government office concluded an agreement concerning comprehensive cooperation toward reconstruction of the village. The present study evaluates the internal and external exposure doses of residents and conducted a risk communication based on each resident's radiation dose. Furthermore, researchers began a comprehensive support of Tomioka residents who have returned to their hometown in 2017. Based on the experiences in Kawauchi village, it is clear that the cooperation of residents, local authorities and specialists is essential for the recovery of areas affected by the nuclear disaster. Accumulated experiences and practices should be carefully evaluated and recorded to prepare for future unexpected nuclear disasters.
We examined spatial variation in vertical 137Cs flux from the litter layer using lysimeters combined with copper-substituted Prussian blue in two forests (deciduous broad-leaved and Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)), approximately 40 km northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant. The study ran from August 2016 to February 2017 in three periods; summer (10 Aug-4 Oct), autumn (5 Oct-30 Nov) and winter (1 Dec-27 Feb). Twenty-five and 15 lysimeters were installed in the deciduous broad-leaved and the Japanese cedar sites within 400 and 300 m2 areas with 3-5 m intervals, respectively. The geometric means of the flux in the deciduous broad-leaved site were 0.51, 0.085 and 0.060 kBq/m2/month in summer, autumn and winter periods, respectively. In the Japanese cedar site, the mean fluxes were 0.45, 0.036 and 0.023 kBq/m2/month. The ratio of 137Cs flux during the survey period to litter 137Cs inventory was 6% and 1% on average in the deciduous broad-leaved and Japanese cedar sites, respectively. The 137Cs flux in the summer period was much larger than those in other periods, resulting from higher precipitation in the summer. Our fine scale observation with 5 m interval showed very large spatial variation in the 137Cs flux and the differences between maximum and minimum range from 8 to 104 times, but were mostly 20-25 times. The spatial variations in the 137Cs flux were affected positively by those in the litter 137Cs inventory and negatively by canopy openness.
Following a nuclear accident, a major dilemma for affected people is whether to stay or leave the affected area, or, for those who have been evacuated, whether or not to return to the decontaminated zones. Populations who have to make such decisions have to consider many parameters, one of which is the radiological situation. Feedback from Chernobyl and Fukushima has demonstrated that involvement and empowerment of the affected population is a way to provide them with the necessary elements to make informed decisions and, if they decide to return to decontaminated areas, to minimise exposure by contributing to the development of a prudent attitude and vigilance towards exposure. However, involving stakeholders in postaccident management raises the question of the role of experts and public authorities in supporting the inhabitants who have to make decisions about their future. Based on experiences in Chernobyl and Fukushima, this paper will discuss various principles that have to be taken into account by experts and public authorities about their role and position when dealing with stakeholders in a postaccident recovery process.
Abstract –: Despite a longstanding recognition that radiological protection is not only a matter of science, but also ethics, ICRP publications have rarely addressed the ethical foundations of the system of radiological protection explicitly. The purpose of this publication is to describe how the Commission has relied on ethical values, either intentionally or indirectly, in developing the system of radiological protection with the objective of presenting a coherent view of how ethics is part of this system. In so doing, it helps to clarify the inherent value judgements made in achieving the aim of the radiological protection system as underlined by the Commission in Publication 103. Although primarily addressed to the radiological protection community, this publication is also intended to address authorities, operators, workers, medical professionals, patients, the public, and its representatives (e.g. NGOs) acting in the interest of the protection of people and the environment. This publication provides the key steps concerning the scientific, ethical, and practical evolutions of the system of radiological protection since the first ICRP publication in 1928. It then describes the four core ethical values underpinning the present system: beneficence/ non-maleficence, prudence, justice, and dignity. It also discusses how these core ethical values relate to the principles of radiological protection, namely justification, optimisation, and limitation. The publication finally addresses key procedural values that are required for the practical implementation of the system, focusing on accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness. The Commission sees this publication as a founding document to be elaborated further in different situations and circumstances.