Worker doses and potential health effects resulting from the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011

George Etherington*, Wei Zhang, John Harrison, Linda Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The reliability of exposure scenarios used in the World Health Organization's Health Risk Assessment (HRA) for Fukushima workers was examined. HRA risk estimates for cancer incidence in these workers were then reviewed. Materials and methods: The HRA constructed four exposure scenarios to estimate worker radiation doses; recent individual dosimetric data were used to assess their reliability. Risks of specified cancer types attributable to radiation exposure were estimated in the HRA by calculating Lifetime Attributable Risks (LAR) for each scenario, and comparisons of LAR are provided. Results: The scenarios were confirmed as reliable for the purposes of the HRA. For the lowest dose scenario (Scenario 1: 69% of the workforce), the HRA found that any elevated cancer risk was insignificant. Significantly elevated cancer risks were, however, found for the three higher dose scenarios. Conclusions: For the highest dose scenario (Scenario 4: 13 workers), LAR values for thyroid cancer up to 3.5% were estimated, but a radiation-related increase in thyroid cancer incidence is unlikely to be observed because of the small number of workers. For the two intermediate dose scenarios, a small number of cancer cases may occur, but these are unlikely to be observed because the variability in baseline rates of cancer incidence is much larger than the predicted radiation-related incidence rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1094
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Informa UK, Ltd.


  • Accident
  • Dosimetry
  • Effects
  • Fukushima
  • Workers


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