The Fukushima nuclear disaster: 8 years on

Peace & Health Blog by Tilman Ruff

11.03.2019 Eight years after the world’s most complex nuclear disaster, the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants and spent fuel ponds are still leaking and dangerous, vast amounts of contaminated water continue to accumulate, 8000 odd clean-up workers labour daily and will need to for many decades, the needs of people exposed to radioactivity are still neglected, no one is in prison for a disaster fundamentally caused by the negligence of the operator and the government, and most of the lessons of Fukushima have yet to heeded.


11.10.2016 How a society deals with the victims of a catastrophe tells you more about it than statistical data like its GDP or its unemployment rates. Since 2011, Fukushima Medical University regularly examines the thyroids of all inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture, who were below 18 years of age at the time of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in order to detect cancer or precancerous lesions in time. While the costs for patients under the age of 18 are generally covered by the state, families have to pay doctor fees in advance and only get reimbursed after a certain delay. Furthermore, the Japanese health system generally requires patients older than 18 to pay 30% of all medical costs themselves. This also applies for thyroid exams for people who were exposed to radioactive fallout, as well as for potentially necessary biopsies, surgical operations or long-term therapies.


Unreasonable cancer diagnoses in Fukushima

Nuclear Energy-Newsletter“ August 2016

12.10.2016  In Fukushima, an extensive screening on thyroid cancer in children is running for almost 5 years now. Whereas the pro-nuclear Japanese government deliberately downplays the impacts of the multiple nuclear meltdowns, scientists, physicians and parents associations were at leastable to enforce this screening. Despite all justifiable criticism of this study like its limitation to Fukushima Prefecture, the lack of transparency or the influence of the nuclear lobby on Fukushima Medical University, which carries out the examination, this screening provides the possibility of early detection and therapy of thyroid cancer.


30 years since Chernobyl

IPPNW/PSR press release

26.04.2016 Marking the commemorations of  the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima, IPPNW Germany called on 26.04.16 on the German government to work towards a speedy closure and decommissioning of all nuclear reactors in Europe. One early morning thirty years ago, humankind was made painfully aware of the dangers of nuclear energy when reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. For weeks afterwards, radioactive clouds spread harmful contamination across the whole of Europe. Germany was also affected, particularly the states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.


09.03.2016 Residents of the Fukushima area and the rest of Japan will experience more than 10,000 excess cancer deaths as a result of radiation exposure from the triple-reactor meltdown that took place on March 11, 2011, according to a new report from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Germany.


02.03.2016 Last weekend IPPNW Germany held an international congress in Berlin to commemorate the nuclear disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl, attended by about 350 participants. Scientists and activists from Japan, Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the world came together in the "Urania" congress hall to exchange information and views on research and to network. Our main aim was to link these anniversaries - five for Fukushima and thirty for Chernobyl - with the demand for a phase-out of nuclear power and promotion of an energy revolution.


24.04.2014 Physicians Against Nuclear War in Japan has published a statement regarding the Fukushima nuclear disaster that deserves a wider international audience. It protests recent Japanese government pressures for return of displaced people to areas radioactively contaminated from the Fukushima nuclear disaster; continued tolerance of radiation exposures for the general public, which IPPNW has repeatedly condemned as unacceptably high; and transfer of the onus of protection to individuals.


IPPNW-Report: Health consequences resulting from Fukushima - Update 2015

By Henrik Paulitz, Winfrid Eisenberg, Reinhold Thiel

[March 3 2015] On 11 March 2011, a nuclear catastrophe occurred at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan in the wake of an earthquake and due to serious safety deficiencies. The initial health consequences of the nuclear catastrophe are now, two years after the incident, scientifically verifiable. Similar to the case of Chernobyl, a decline in the birth rate was documented in the nine months following the nuclear catastrophe. In the Fukushima Prefecture alone, some 55,592 children were diagnosed with thyroid gland nodules or cysts. In the long term there are many expected cases of cancer due to Fukushima. 

IPPNW-Report "Health consequences resulting from Fukushima" (2013)

IPPNW-Report "Health consequences resulting from Fukushima Update 2015" (German)

Three years after Fukushima

Three years ago, thousands of people died and almost half a million lost their homes in Japan's worst peacetime disaster. But the catastrophe isn't over as experts still struggle to contain radioactive leaks from the stricken plant. DW spoke to Angelika Claußen of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. 

Watch interview

WHO data predicts between 22,000 and 66,000 incidences of cancer in Japan

By Henrik Paulitz, Winfrid Eisenberg, and Reinhold Thiel

[March 14 2013] On 28 February 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its "Health risk assessment" from the nuclear accident of Fukushima. On 6 March 2013 Soon afterwards, on 6 March 2013, the IPPNW, a medical organization critical of nuclear power and weapons, released its dissenting report "Health consequences resulting from Fukushima". The availability of reliable information and comparable assessments on the consequences of such a nuclear catastrophe are essential for the political policy making process. An IPPNW information is therefore intended to show that utilizing the WHO data and assumptions, one arrives at comparable figures for the incidence of illness as those arrived at by the IPPNW.

"WHO data predicts between 22,000 and 66,000 incidences of cancer in Japan"

Critical Analysis of the WHO’s health risk assessment of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Thyroid-Screening at the „Fukushima collaborative clinic“ © Ian Thomas Ash 2013

By Alex Rosen

[March 1 2013] On February 28th, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its „Health risk assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami“. This report concluded that “for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.” This analysis discusses the eight main objections to the current WHO report and shows why it should not be considered a neutral scientific assessment of the actual health risks of the affected population, nor a valid basis for future decisions and recommendations.

"Critical Analysis of the WHO’s health risk assessment of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe"

Summary in Japanese: "Critical Analysis of the WHO’s health risk assessment of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe"


Symposium: "10 years living with Fukushima"

On the 10th anniversary of the nuclear disaster, the medical organization IPPNW has taken stock of the situation, continuing the tradition of past IPPNW Chernobyl/Fukushima Conferences. During a one-day symposium, the most important scientific findings of the last 10 years were presented and discussed. All presentations are available on youtube.

Background Report

30 years living with Chernobyl
5 years living with Fukushima

Report by IPPNW Germany and PSR USA
Download report