The events at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant remind us of the dangers of radiation exposure. Japanese military and police personnel engaged in efforts to bring the stricken plant under control face the risk of exposure to high levels of radiation, as may ordinary Japanese citizens who are also being scanned for high radiation levels. Even as we listen with relief to predictions that the wind will blow radiation away from centers of population, many of us are prompted to consider our own vulnerability. What would happen if we faced a similar event?
The National Research Council has authored several reports about preventive strategies to mitigate the harmful health effects of radiation exposure.
Distribution and Administration of Potassium Iodide in the Event of a Nuclear Incident assesses strategies for the distribution and administration of potassium iodide in the event of a nuclear incident. Potassium iodide can prevent thyroid cancer caused by exposure to the radioactive iodine that could be released in such an event. The report says that potassium iodide pills should be available to everyone age 40 or younger—especially children and pregnant and lactating women—living near a nuclear power plant. To ensure that potassium iodide will be available in the event of an incident at a nuclear power plant that causes the release of radioiodine, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has supplied participating states with an amount of the drug equal to two dosages for every person who lives or works within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has purchased potassium iodide tablets for the national pharmaceutical stockpile. This book makes recommendations for the safest and most effective way to administer potassium iodide tablets on a mass scale in the event of a nuclear incident, taking into account projected benefits and harms and the populations that should be included in such a program.
Review of the Worker and Public Health Activities Program Administered by the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services reviews the quality of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Worker and Public Health Activities Program. The program was established to study the consequences of exposures to ionizing radiation and other hazardous materials used in DOE operations on workers and the general public in surrounding communities.
These books and others from the National Research Council examine how we can mitigate harmful effects in a nuclear event and protect workers and communities. Our titles that discuss health effects of low levels of radiation provide valuable information for decision makers and the general public.
|Distribution and Administration of Potassium Iodide in the Event of a Nuclear Incident
Radioactive iodines are produced during the operation of nuclear power plants and during the detonation of nuclear weapons. In the event of a radiation incident, radioiodine is one of the contaminants that could be released into the environment. Exposure…
|Review of the Worker and Public Health Activities Program Administered by the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services|
|Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2
BEIR VII develops the most up-to-date and comprehensive risk estimates for cancer and other health effects from exposure to low-level ionizing radiation. It is among the first reports of its kind to include detailed estimates for cancer incidence in addition to…
|Improving the Regulation and Management of Low-Activity Radioactive Wastes|
|Going the Distance?: The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the United States
This new report from the National Research Council’s Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) and the Transportation Research Board reviews the risks and technical and societal concerns for the transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste…
|Assessment of the Scientific Information for the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program|
|Risk and Decisions About Disposition of Transuranic and High-Level Radioactive Waste
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) manages dozens of sites across the nation that focus on research, design, and production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors for defense applications. Radioactive wastes at these sites pose a national challenge, and DOE…