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Evaluation of Environmental Contamination and Estimated Radiation Exposure Dose Rates among Residents Immediately after Returning Home to Tomioka Town, Fukushima Prefecture

1
Department of Global Health, Medicine and Welfare, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture 852-8523, Japan
2
Nuclear Safety Research Association, Tokyo 105-0004, Japan
3
Special Advisor to the President, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture 852-8521, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091481
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 22 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract

On 1 April 2017, six years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) accident, and the Japanese government declared that some residents who lived in Tomioka Town, Fukushima Prefecture could return to their homes. We evaluated environmental contamination and radiation exposure dose rates due to artificial radionuclides in the livelihood zone of residents (living space such as housing sites), including a restricted area located within a 10-km radius from the FDNPS, immediately after residents had returned home in Tomioka town. In areas where the evacuation orders had been lifted, the median air dose rates were 0.20 μSv/h indoors and 0.26 μSv/h outdoors, and the radiation exposure dose rate was 1.6 mSv/y. By contrast, in the “difficult-to-return zone,” the median air dose rate was 2.3 μSv/h (20 mSv/y) outdoors. Moreover, the dose-forming artificial radionuclides (radiocesium) in the surface soil were 0.018 μSv/h (0.17 mSv/y) in the evacuation order-lifted areas and 0.73 μSv/h (6.4 mSv/y) in the difficult-to-return zone. These findings indicate that current concentrations of artificial radionuclides in soil samples have been decreasing in the evacuation order-lifted areas of Tomioka town; however, a significant external exposure risk still exists in the difficult-to-return zone. The case of Tomioka town is expected to be the first reconstruction model including the difficult-to-return zone. View Full-Text
Keywords: air dose rate; difficult-to-return zone; evacuation order-lifted areas; effective dose rate; external exposure risk; Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident; living space; radiocesium; surface soil; Tomioka town air dose rate; difficult-to-return zone; evacuation order-lifted areas; effective dose rate; external exposure risk; Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident; living space; radiocesium; surface soil; Tomioka town
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Matsuo, M.; Taira, Y.; Orita, M.; Yamada, Y.; Ide, J.; Yamashita, S.; Takamura, N. Evaluation of Environmental Contamination and Estimated Radiation Exposure Dose Rates among Residents Immediately after Returning Home to Tomioka Town, Fukushima Prefecture. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1481.

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