This chapter is concerned with radiation exposure of members of the public. Other than the public, nearly 25,000 workers including TEPCO employees and contractors were also involved in the accident. Doses for workers were controlled, so no radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among them. A small number of workers were highly exposed, but it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer caused by radiation exposure would be detectable. Special health examinations will be given to workers with exposures above 100 mSv.
The assessment regarding radiological effects on plants and animals was performed by UNSCEAR, and its secretary concluded that the exposures of organisms in the environment are unlikely to cause anything more than transient harm to their populations . The issue is important for the environment, so detailed studies should be continued.
The experience from the 1986 Chernobyl accident has shown us that apart from any direct impact on physical health, the social and societal effects, and their associated health consequences in the affected population, are very important . In this chapter, I have emphasized the importance of dose as a measure of radiation risk in radiation protection. It was reported, however, that the social and societal effects as well as their associated health consequence are not directly related to the dose. Now, we have to realize the importance of the sufficient explanation of the meaning of dose. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasize the importance of dose assessments both for practical purposes of radiation protection and for scientific goals such as epidemiological studies and radiological risk analysis.
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