for Japanese

27 July, 2016

New Knowledge about Radiation’s Health Effects Promises Clarification about Its Role in Carcinogenesis

Concerns about the health effects of radiation underlie a range of problems stemming from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, including questions of evacuation and returning home, waste from decontamination, and unfounded fears and rumors in regard to food.

JAIF President Takahashi

Moreover, many simply feel unease about radiation: not only its uses for power generation, but also in medicine and industrial applications. Among the health effects of radiation, cancer gets the most attention. From epidemiological studies of the bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is known that high-dose (and high-dose-rate) radiation increases cancer risk.

Low-dose (and low-dose-rate) radiation can also do so, but to degrees that are quite small. Epidemiological methods are limited in that they do not distinguish among or evaluate cancer risk factors, including lifestyle and stress.

Accordingly, from the viewpoint of radiation protection, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)—an international organization that issues guidelines for radiation protection and other matters—advises or recommends radiation management based on the model of the linear no-threshold hypothesis (LNT).

That means that even if radiation levels are assumed to present a cancer risk even if they are extremely close. Experts and specialists, however, have yet to conclude whether low-dose (and low-dose-rate) radiation actually increases risk.

Researchers are rapidly developing regenerative technology using stem cells in the medical field, and are conducting precise research and studies on cancer. Under such circumstances, they have identified a new carcinogenic mechanism as originating from so-called cancer stem cells; with similar characteristics to stem cells.

The new mechanism is also a focus of attention in the area of radiation protection. In December 2015, the ICRP highlighted a direction for basic research in Publication 131: “Stem Cell Biology with Respect to Carcinogenesis Aspects of Radiological Protection.”

As research continues, the role of radiation in carcinogenesis ought to be scientifically ascertained. Several currently unanswered questions—including the identification of a “floor” below which no damage accumulates in the body from low radiation doses and dose rates, thus representing no radiation risk—might also find a solution. Not only should that provide useful knowledge in terms of radiation protection; but it should also help eliminate some of the unease that people feel about radiation.

We are watching those new studies with keen interest for their promise beyond conventional, fixed concepts, and hope that not only the medical world but the nuclear industry is paying due attention to them.

Akio Takahashi, President, JAIF


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map


Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station -The year in review- (March 2018 – February 2019)

8 March, 2019
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station -The year in review- (March 2018 – February 2019)04:56

Recent News

24 May, 2019
Japanese Power Companies to Cooperate with Each Other to Complete Anti-terrorism Facilities More Quickly
21 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Environmental Activist Michael Shellenberger, a Pro-nuclear Convert, Meets the Press
21 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Leader Perspective: “The Role of Nuclear Energy in the EU Low-carbon Future”
20 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Leader Perspective: “French Nuclear Policy and Industry Update”
20 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Session 3: “Diversity and Possibilities for Nuclear Technology”
15 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Session 2: “Prospects for Development of Innovative Technology”
15 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Fukushima Daiichi Report
15 May, 2019
【52nd JAIF Annual Conference】 Session 1: “Role of Nuclear Power as a Low-Carbon Energy Source”
10 May, 2019
JT60-SA’s Core Central Solenoid Installed at QST’s Naka Fusion Institute
10 May, 2019
President of Decommissioning Company Says “Feel” from Unit 3 Will Aid Decommissioning of Other Units