Fukushima poses no immediate health risks

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The Fukushima nuclear disaster has not caused any immediate health risks, UN experts reported in Vienna Friday as part of their interim investigation results.

Whether a discovered increase in the instances of thyroid cancer amongst children could be due to radioactivity or more and improved studies could not be determined, said United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Raditation (UNSCEAR) Chair Wolfgang Weiss,according to UN Information Service Vienna.

It is however assumed that children are more susceptible to radiation and particularly to leukemia, thryroid, brain, and skin-related cancer types.

No direct deaths came as a result of the disaster, though 800 people died in the aftermath, mainly due to long evacuation time and stress. Even amongst the 25,000 workers employed to clean up the area, no deaths or acute health effects were found.

Thus UNSCEAR concluded that preliminary results show the population was exposed to only "low" or "very low" levels of radiation which would have a correspondingly low impact on their health later in life.

Weiss said further investigations would be necessary, with a final UNSCEAR report to be completed by summer.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest since the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986, was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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