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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 Germany. 

Watch interview

By Tilman Ruff

The Fukushima nuclear disaster three years on

03/11/2014 

The world’s most complex nuclear power plant disaster continues three years on, and will continue for many years hence. Uncontrolled flows of around 1,000 tons of groundwater per day into the site continue; 400 tons of water daily flows into the damaged reactor and turbine buildings where it becomes radioactively contaminated. Some is collected—more than 430,000 tons of radioactively contaminated water is now stored in about 1,000 makeshift tanks, many of which are bolted rather than welded, lack even gauges to show how full they are, and have leaked repeatedly.

more ...

Doctors: UNSCEAR 2013 report systematically underestimates health impact of Fukushima catastrophe

[October 25, 2013] As physicians concerned with the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the ecosystem, we have reviewed the upcoming United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report to the UN General Assembly. We appreciate the effort made by UNSCEAR committee members to evaluate the extensive and complex data concerning the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. While parts of the UNSCEAR report will be useful in the future to assess the consequences of the nuclear meltdowns on public health and the environment, we believe the 2013 UNSCEAR report systematically underestimates the true extent of the catastrophe. Many of the assumptions are based on the two WHO/IAEA reports published in May 2012 and February 2013, which did not accurately portray the true extent of radiation exposure, followed faulty assumptions, ignored the ongoing radioactive emissions over the past 2½ years and excluded non-cancer effects of radiation.

more ...[ Read press release]  [Full-version commentary]

Statement by IPPNW Board of Directors

Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over

Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health to the UN Human Rights Council

05/30/2013 

The IPPNW Board of Directors has issued a statement about the ongoing public health crisis resulting from the March 2011 nuclear reactor disaster in Fukushima. The statement makes reference to a report from Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, an advance, unedited copy of which has been made available by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Health consequences resulting from Fukushima

06.03.2013 

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. 

[Summary of Report "Health consequences resulting from Fukushima" (German section of IPPNW) ]  [IPPNW Report "Health consequences resulting from Fukushima"]  [Critical Analysis of the WHO’s health risk assessment of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe (IPPNW Germany)]

IPPNW Press Conference in Tokio

Protecting health after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

IPPNW Press Conference on Fukushima Medical and Health Issues, August 29, 2012; Tokyo20.09.2012 

Following the IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) World Congress in Hiroshima on August 24-26, the related symposium in Tokyo, and their visit to Fukushima to meet with local medical professionals on August 28, international medical experts from IPPNW will held a press conference on the medical and health issues related to Fukushima on Wednesday August 29.

[IPPNW recommendations from the press conference ]  [Recommandations de l´IPPNW après le désastre de Fukushima]  [IPPNW letter to the Japanese Government]

Study of IPPNW Germany

Fukushima: The Tsunami Myth

03/06/2012 

Following an earthquake on March 11th 2011 a nuclear disaster took place in the Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima. All over the world credibility has been given to the myth that the tsunami following the earthquake was the sole cause of this nuclear catastrophe. Why? Because Tepco and the Japanese government publicly portrayed the tsunami as being more to blame than the earthquake. This attempt at historical revisionism – obviously motivated by self-interest – has little to do with reality. This can be seen if one carefully analyses the events that actually took place.

more ...[Download study]  [Download flyer]  [IPPNW-bulletin "Fukushima: Put an end to the nuclear age"]

Press Release IPPNW Germany

Spikes of radioactive emissions during inspection and refuelling

Gundremmingen Nuclear Power Station, Bavaria, Germany

11/14/2011 

In September 2011, Gundremmingen NPP  located between Ulm and Augsburg in Southern Germany emitted  much larger amounts of radioactive noble gases during inspection/refuelling  than are emitted during normal power operation. According to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Germany, the normal emission concentration during the rest of the year is about 3 kBq/m³, but during inspection/refuelling (in the afternoon and evening of September 22nd) this concentration abruptly increased to ~700 kBq/m³ with a peak of 1,470 kBq/m³.

more ...

PRESS RELEASE, October 27, 2011

Fukushima: 2.5 times more radioactive xenon than Chernobyl

Study: Release immediately after earthquake – before tsunami

10/27/2011 

An international team of researchers from Norway, Austria, Spain and the United States concluded in a study, published on October 21, that the amount of the noble gas xenon 133 released during the Fukushima disaster was a factor 2.5 times higher than released in Chernobyl. According to their report, there is “strong evidence“ that the start of the release was on March 11 at about 3 pm (Japanese time) and therefore before the tsunami hit the coast. This leads the scientists to believe that the earthquake at 2.46 pm may have led to “structural damage” of the reactor.

more ...[Study: Radionuclide release from Fukushima nuclear power plant]

PRESS RELEASE, September 29, 2011

Switzerland decides phase-out of civil use of nuclear power

The Swiss chapter of the physicians for social responsibility / for the prevention of nuclear war (PSR/ IPPNW, Peace Nobel prize 1985) has taken, with satisfaction, notice of today’s vote by the the council of states, promoting the definite phase-out of civil use of nuclear power at the end of the lifespan of the existing 5 powerplants.

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PRESS RELEASE, 20 September 2011

Setting official radiation value limits for foodstuffs does not offer enough health protection to the population

foodwatch and IPPNW Germany call for drastic improvement

09/20/2011 

Current radiation value limits for contaminated foodstuffs in the European Union and in Japan do not offer enough health protection since they permit the population to be unnecessarily exposed to high health risks. This is the conclusion reached in the report, Calculated Fatalities From Radiation: Officially Permissible Limits for Radioactively Contaminated Food in the European Union and Japan, released in Berlin today by the consumer advocacy organization foodwatch and the German Section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). The report is based on a study by Thomas Dersee und Sebastian Pflugbeil (German Society for Radiation Protection).

more ...[Download report]  [Background information]

PRESS RELEASE, September 19,2011

Fukushima warning: protect the population from nuclear hazard

Alliance declares its solidarity with today´s mass demonstration in Tokyo

An alliance of anti-nuclear initiatives supports protestors in Tokyo today in their call for an end to civil use of nuclear energy in Japan. Six months after the nuclear disaster the Japanese government refuses to deliver the help still urgently needed by the people in the area of Fukushima. There is still no state program for the evacuation of the people living in areas more than 20 kilometers from the damaged reactor.

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Tilman Ruff on the increase of radiation dose

Children of Fukushima need our protection

Increased allowable dose of ionizing radiation for children in Fukushima Prefecture

26.04.2011 I was dismayed to learn that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology earlier this week increased the allowable dose of ionizing radiation for children in Fukushima Prefecture. The dose they set, 3.8 microsieverts per hour, equates to more than 33 millisieverts (mSv) over a year. This is to apply to children in kindergartens, nursery, primary and junior high schools. Let me try to put this in perspective.

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Nuclear’s Health Risks on Chernobyl Anniversary

Physicians for Social Responsibility Cites Flawed Evacuation Zones

26.04.2011 Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today cited gross inadequacies in evacuation zones around nuclear reactors and underscored the ongoing health risks of nuclear energy to the public.  The 25th anniversary of Chernobyl and the continuing crisis at Fukushima—both Level 7 nuclear disasters—are clear reminders that standard evacuation zones cannot protect the public from a nuclear accident.  One-third of the population of the United States (over 111 million people) lives within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor. Given the consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, PSR is calling for a major reassessment of contingency plans for nuclear accidents, as well as a full and fair accounting of the data on the impact to public health and the environment.

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Tilman Ruff on the nuclear disaster in Fukushima

Just in case you missed it, here’s why radiation is a health hazard

07.04.2011 

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and complicating nuclear crisis throw into sharp focus concerns about exposure to ionising radiation. What is it, how is it harmful, how much is too much? Inside a nuclear reactor, the radioactivity is increased about a million times as some of the uranium or plutonium is converted to a cocktail of hundreds of different radioactive elements.

[Read the article]

Greek anti-nuclear activists want the closure of Kozloduy NPP and the ‘freezing’ of Belene

Interview with Maria Arvaniti Sotiropoulou

Maria Sotiroupoulu, IPPNW Greece31.03.2011 

GRReporter: >>The world anti-nuclear movement is gaining strength and it believes that the time has come for humanity to realize that nuclear energy is not so safe and to focus on alternative energy sources. Since its establishment in 1980, the association International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War has the sole purpose of "creating a more peaceful and safer world, free from the threat of nuclear destruction." The federation, which has affiliates in 63 countries, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. The Greek Medical Association for the Protection of the Environment and Against Nuclear and Biochemical Threat is the Greek branch of the world federation. GRReporter interviewed its President Dr. Maria Arvaniti - Sotiropoulou.<<

[Read article on GRReporter.info]

Extend the Evacuation Zone, Measure Plutonium Levels

03/25/2011 

The physician’s organisation IPPNW Germany and the President of the German Society for Radiation Protection (GfS), Sebastian Pflugbeil, believe that an extension of the evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is urgently needed. They call on the Japanese government to evacuate the population promptly from a much wider area, in particular to ensure the protection of children and pregnant women.

more ...[Measurement of radiation levels on IAEA site]

25 Years After Chernobyl – 28 Days after Fukushima

24.03.2011 

The aftermath of the nuclear reactor catastrophe in Chernobyl and Fukushima, and the fates of the people suffering from nuclear contamination worldwide, are the focus of this international congress in Berlin, April 8 to 10. 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster, our planet is currently witnessing yet another vast nuclear tragedy which underlines dramatically the risks of nuclear technology. Nuclear energy kills. Join us to hear information about and discuss the dangers of the nuclear chain.

[read the Press advisory]

WHO should objectively inform public of nuclear danger

Agreement with IAEA acts as gag to information on health effects of nuclear energy

Damage at Fukushima nuclear plant Unit 3 and 4, Photo: Flickr/Daveeza03/23/2011 

IPPNW Germany has warned for many years that collusion between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) prevents them from protecting the public from the risks posed by nuclear power. The physician's organisation and Nobel Peace Laureate strongly criticises the IAEA for inadequately informing the public on the situation at the Fukushima nuclear complex and the WHO for downplaying potential health consequences resulting from a meltdown.

more ...[WHO-IAEA Agreement (pdf)]  [IAEA Statute]  [More information on Berlin Chernobyl Congress]

Radiation might effect Japan's youngest

Interview with Dr. Winfrid Eisenberg

Winfrid Eisenberg at an IPPNW action in his hometown of Herford. Foto: IPPNW18.03.2011 

After the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the world was shocked by babies born with deformities and the high rate of prenatal defects in the affected areas. How dangerous is the situation in Japan for children? In this article, IPPNW physician Dr. Winfrid Eisenberg tells Deutsche Welle that unborn children are most at risk from radiation.

[Read article on DW homepage]

Unfolding Nuclear Disaster in Japan highlights health risks of nuclear reactors

Melbourne, 14 March 2011: The unfolding tragedy in Japan has highlighted the dangerous reality of nuclear power and its potential severe health consequences, said the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) and International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) today in a joint statement.

 “Our thoughts are today with the hundreds of thousands of traumatised inhabitants of the Fukushima district - now fleeing the radioactive plume over northern Japan - whose experience of horrendous natural disaster has been amplified by avoidable man-made catastrophe,” said Dr Bill Williams President of MAPW and board member of ICAN Australia.

more ...[MAPW nuclear accidents page]

IPPNW Germany demands shut down of nuclear reactors worldwide

At the annual meeting of the German IPPNW affiliate this weekend in Frankfurt/Main, physicians passed a resolution calling for all nuclear plants worldwide to be closed down. The catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear installation was a central topic for the 100 doctors over the weekend, who organised a spontaneous demonstration in central Frankfurt to protest against continued use of nuclear power. IPPNW experts on nuclear safety, radiation and health were called upon to give numerous interviews to the media and appear on nationwide television.

[German IPPNW Resolution ]

IPPNW calls for a ban on uranium mining

19th IPPNW World Congress in Basel

Hilma Kupila-Mote, Namibia. Photo: Anne Tritschler08/31/2010 

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

more ...[IPPNW Resolution on Uranium Mining]  [Facts on uranium mining]

German nuclear plants not compliant with current security standards

IPPNW and Greenpeace research

10/08/2010  Germany's nuclear power plants are surrounded by fences and guarded by security personnel. But NGOs say they're inadequately protected from floods, earthquakes and fire - and possibly also from terrorist attacks by air.

more ...[DW-World]

Protesting against Belene

IPPNW Greece at the Pan European Energy Conference, Bulgaria

10/12/2009 

On 28-29 August 2009 the Greek Affiliate of IPPNW participated in the PanEuropean Energy Conference in Svishtov, Bulgaria and protested against the nuclear power plant currently under construction in Belene. Jan Havercamp, Greenpeace energy campaigner, declared that all nuclear power plants will stop because the costs are too high.

more ...

Childhood Leukemias Near Nuclear Power Stations

Article for MEDACT Communique

02/15/2008 

In the late1980s and early 1990s, a number of UK studies revealed increased incidences of childhood leukemias near the nuclear facilities at Windscale (now Sellafield), Burghfield and Dounreay. The official reaction to these increases was that the estimated radiation doses from intakes of nuclides released by these facilities were too low (by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude) to explain the increased leukemias.

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IPPNW Physicians Issue Warning

2007 "KiKK"-Study

01/11/2008 

"Young children develop cancer more frequently when they live near nuclear power plants (NPP). It has to be assumed that radioactive emissions from NPP stacks are indeed not as harmless as previously believed. Now it is time to act."

more ...

Independence for WHO

Appeal by health professionals

20.12.2007 

The World Health Organization (WHO) works towards the resolution of public health problems and to this end, it is mandated "to assist in developing an informed public opinion" (WHO Constitution, 7 April 1948). However, since the WHO/IAEA Agreement (WHA12-40) was signed on 28 May 1959, the WHO appears to be subordinate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). As health professionals, we support the request that WHO, in line with its constitution, recover its independence in the area of ionising radiation.

[Appeal of Health Professionals]

More Childhood Cancer Near Nuclear Power Plants

German study

12/08/2007 

The german section of IPPNW has initiated a study, which approves that children under the age of five living near nuclear power stations have contracted cancer at a greatly higher rate than the national average. The study was paid for by the German Federal Radiation Protection Agency (BfS) the government's main adviser on nuclear health. It was conducted by the German Register of Child Cancer, an office in Mainz which is funded by the 16 German states and the federal Health Ministry. The risk of cancer increased by 60 percent for children living less than five kilometres(three miles) from a nuclear power plant, according to the study.

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Mediterranean No Nuclear Neighbourhood

A new terenean Antinuclear link

10/02/2007 

In Rhodes was created a new terenean Antinuclear link named Mediterranean No Nuclear Neighbourhood (MN³). In the Secretariat Maria Arvaniti Sotiropoulou was elected representing the Greek Affiliate of IPPNW. Following you find the declaration of MN³. "We, the Organizations from 9 countries of the wider area of the Mediterranean gathered in Rhodes, September 27-29 2007, and signed the Protocol of Cooperation for the Creation of the Mediterranean No Nuclear Neighbourhood, address the citizens of our countries with a hopeful dream..."

more ...

US-India Deal deeply flawed

Open letter to heads of states

08/14/2007 

The German affiliate of IPPNW has signed a letter from the global network "Abolition 2000" asking member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to veto the proposed US-India nuclear deal. The signatories of the letter view the deal as "deeply flawed" and regard the consequences for the internation non-proliferation regime to be so severe, that only the next Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty should take a decision on it.

more ...

Concerns Mount Over Nuclear Energy

The incidents were dangerous

07/27/2007 

Irregularities at nuclear reactors in Germany and Japan in recent weeks have rekindled safety fears and raised tough questions about nuclear energy amid increasing environmental concerns. Despite the recent slew of incidents at nuclear power stations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the errors in Germany, Sweden and Japan were exceptions and certainly did not pose a danger. Critics of nuclear energy, however, don't buy the argument. Henrik Paulitz of IPPNW said the recent German incidents were dangerous.

more ...

IPPNW launches worldwide e-Card Campaign

Sign the e-card at www.iaea.ippnw.de

07/29/2007 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was founded on July 29th, 1957. On the occasion of this 50th anniversary IPPNW-Germany has created an electronic birthday card to the IAEA that criticizes the agency's role in promoting so-called peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The e-card can be viewed, personalized, and signed at www.iaea.ippnw.de. According to its founding statute, the aim of the IAEA is to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation while, at the same time, enlarging the peaceful use of nuclear energy. IPPNW believes that this is a self-contradictory mission.

more ...

Childhood leukaemia and nuclear facilities

Meta-analysis of Baker P.J. & Hoel D.G.

15.07.2007 

In response to the cluster of childhood leukaemia reported near the Sellafield nuclear site in Great Britain in 1984 there have been numerous studies assessing the possible risk of childhood leukaemia due to irradiation from nuclear sites. While many studies have found positive associations, few results have been significant. Although there is little doubt that exposure to radiation increases the risk of developing leukaemia there is disagreement as to whether the amount of exposure received by children living near nuclear sites is sufficient to increase risk.

Article in Medicine, Conflict and Survival

Chernobyl

Looking back to go forwards

Hardly noticed by the public, the Chernobyl Forum of the United Nations was founded in 2003 as a strong-man act. On 6 and 7 September 2005, the results of its working groups were presented at a conference organised by the IAEA in Vienna. The purpose of this complex co-operation over several years was to formulate official versions with regard to the twentieth anniversary of the disaster on the highest possible level, namely that of UN organisations and governments, to conclude all research projects about Chernobyl and to propagate the thesis that the main problem of the region was poverty, not the Chernobyl disaster.

17th IPPNW World Congress Helsinki

Congress Statement

If you want peace, work for health!

09/10/2006 

The 17th IPPNW World Congress took place in Helsinki, Finland from 7th to 10 September 2006. The motto of the Congress was War or Health? Themes of the congress were: nuclear abolition; small arms and the public health impact of war; and energy security. A statement was issued at the close of the congress.

more ...

She remains with us

Solange Fernex has died

09/11/2006 

Solange Fernex, a French pacifist and politician born in 1934 and resident in Biederthal (Alsace), died of cancer on 11 September at around 3pm. After living through some difficult stages and a recent short remission, she slipped away gently.

more ...

Health Effects of Chernobyl

20 years after the reactor catastrophe

05.04.2006 

The Chernobyl catastrophe changed the world. Millions of people were made victims overnight. Gigantic stretches of land were made uninhabitable. The radioactive cloud spread all over the world. An understanding of the dangers of the use of nuclear energy grew in a countless number of minds. Even in Germany, people became sick and died due to the radiation they incorporated into their bodies through eating and breathing. An analysis of the effects of Chernobyl is massively handicapped by the number of very varying levels of facts. Essential data on the course of events of the catastrophe and its health effects are not publicly available.

Only 50 deaths caused by Chernobyl?

Press Release by IPPNW Germany

04/06/2006 

A report published today by the physician's organisation IPPNW in Germany and the German Society for Radiation Protection contradicts the claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that less than 50 people died as a result of the accident at Chernobyl (see IAEA press release of September 5th 2005). The facts presented by Dr. Sebastian Pflugbeil, President of the German Society for Radiation Protection, show that the IAEA figures contain serious inconsistencies.

more ...

Health of Liquidators

Symposium in Bern, Switzerland

12.11.2005 

The Swiss affiliate of PSR / IPPNW has held a Symposium "Health of Liquidators (Clean-up Workers), 20 Years after the Chernobyl Explosion". With the support of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Berne, they organized a scientific program, dedicated to the effects of artificial radioactive radiation in 800.000 clean-up workers, the so-called liquidators. These were mainly younger adults (mean age 33 years) who were enrolled and had to decontaminate heavily contaminated areas, close to the exploded Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Half of them were military personnel from all republics of the Soviet Union, the others were civil technicians, miners, pilots, drivers, healthy young men and also women.

Revoke the IAEO-WHO agreement

IPPNW calls vor independent research

09/05/2005 

On the occasion of the UN Chernobyl Forum from September 6 to 7 in Vienna on the effects of the reactor meltdown on the environment and health, IPPNW Germany demands the revocation of the agreement between WHO and IAEA of May 28 1959. This agreement ensures the proponents of nuclear energy and physicists in IAEA control over research programmes, their results and publications of WHO physicians that cover the health effects of the civilian use of nuclear energy and ensuing accidents.

more ...

ippnw bulletin

Fukushima: Put an end to the nuclear age, 4 page leaflet, download as pdf file.


The Health Legacy of Chernobyl, 4 page leaflet, download as pdf file.

Report April 2011

Health Effects of Chernobyl
Download PDF