Saving Lives and Preventing Injuries from Unjustified Protective Actions - Method for Developing a Comprehensive Public Protective Action Strategy for a Severe NPP Emergency

Callen J & McKenna T (2017). Saving Lives and Preventing Injuries from Unjustified Protective Actions - Method for Developing a Comprehensive Public Protective Action Strategy for a Severe NPP Emergency. Health Physics (In Press)

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Abstract

During the response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) emergency about 50 patients died during or shortly after an evacuation when they were not provided with the needed medical support. In addition, during the FDNPP emergency it has been shown that there were increases in mortality rates among the elderly due to long term dislocation as a result of evacuation and relocation orders and an inability to stay in areas advised to shelter for extended periods. These deaths occurred even though the possible radiation exposure to the public was too low to result in radiation induced deaths, injuries or a meaningful increase in the cancer rate, even if no protective actions had been taken.
These problems are not unique to the FDNPP emergency and would be expected if the recommendations of many organizations were followed. Neither the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) nor the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adequately take into consideration in their recommendations and analysis the non-radiological health impact, such as deaths and injuries, that could result from protective actions. Furthermore, ICRP, NRC, EPA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) call for taking protective actions at doses lower than those resulting in meaningful adverse radiation induced health effects and do not state the doses at which such effects would be seen. Consequently, it would be impossible for decision makers and the public to balance all the hazards both from radiation exposure and protective actions when deciding whether a protective action is justified.
What is needed, as is presented in this paper, is a method for developing a comprehensive protective action strategy that allows the public, decision makers and others who must work together to balance the radiological with the non-radiological health hazards posed by protective actions, and to counter the exaggerated fear of radiation exposure that could lead to taking unjustified protective actions and adverse psychological, sociological and other effects.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2017 07:29
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 07:29
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14943

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