New study claims a 30-fold increase in thyroid cancer in Fukushima

A study examining thyroid cancer among children 18 years and younger when the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began, found an increase in thyroid cancers, as predicted by World Health Organization (WHO) initial dose assessments.

However, lead researcher, Toshihide Tsuda an epidemiologist at Okayama University, says “[t]his is more than expected and emerging faster than expected…” by either initial WHO predictions or studies of thyroid cancers after the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1986. Tsuda was urged by international experts, and the publishing journal, to publish his study as early as possible, due to its potential implications for public health.

The study, published in Epidemiology, analyzed prefecture data up to December 31, 2014 and pointed out, along with the press conference, these additional observations:

There were no precise measurements of internal or external radiation exposure, so researchers used residential addresses at the time the catastrophe began in 2011 as a surrogate for dose.

A second round of screening, to be completed in March 2016, will include those who were in utero in 2011. Data already show an additional 25 thyroid cancers.

The highest incidence rate ratio was among people whose district was not evacuated, 50 to 60 km (30 to 40 miles approximately) west from the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Data show 605 thyroid cancer cases per million examinees. The expected cases of thyroid cancer for children is 1-2 per year per million.

Ground contamination does not necessarily reflect exposure. Some of the most exposed people came from areas where radionuclide deposition was minimal, but radioactive iodine in the air as a result of the catastrophe still exposed them.

The magnitude of the increase is too great to be explained by increased screening since available data show a 2 to 3- and at most a 6 to 7–fold increase would be attributable to enhanced screening efforts. The data examined by Tsuda show cancer cases an order of magnitude higher.

The cancers found by this screening in Fukushima prefecture had metastasized to lymph nodes in 74% of cases (40 cases out of 54), meaning these cancers were not in early stages of development. Therefore, when interpreting the data, overdiagnosis is also not an issue; a conclusion shared by medical professionals: "However, physicians actually involved with diagnosis during the thyroid examination unanimously agree that 'it is not overdiagnosis.' These physicians include Dr. Akira Miyauchi from Kuma Hospital, one of nation’s top thyroid clinicians, as well as Dr. Shinichi Suzuki from Fukushima Medical University, director of thyroid examination in Fukushima Prefecture." Overdiagnosis "refers to diagnosis of disease that does not require medical treatment, as opposed to screening effect which means early detection of asymptomatic disease that patients are unaware of, and which eventually requires medical treatment."

Contrary to claims that we would not be seeing an increase in cancers this early (within a year after exposure to radioactivity), radioactivity from Fukushima could have caused this increase in thyroid cancers because excess cancers were observed subsequent to Chernobyl in the earlier years. Further, the US CDC recognizes a minimum empirical induction time for thyroid cancer of 2.5 years in adults; and 1 year in kids for all cancers including thyroid. The minimum latency for leukemia is 0.4 years (146 days).

Residents who were older than 18 years in 2011 should also be monitored for thyroid cancers.

In addition to predicting increases in thyroid cancers, the WHO also predicted increases in leukemias and breast cancer among others. The WHO acceded to demands by the government of Japan to reduce estimated doses. As a result, doses listed in the WHO’s report are 1/3 to 1/10th lower than initially drafted.

The study concludes: “In Chernobyl, excesses of thyroid cancer became more remarkable 4 or 5 years after the accident in Belarus and Ukraine, so the observed excess alerts us to prepare for more potential cases within a few years. Furthermore, we could infer a possibility that exposure doses for residents were higher than the official report or the dose estimation by the World Health Organization, because the number of thyroid cancer cases grew faster than predicted in the World Health Organization’s health assessment report.”


Global anti-nuclear leaders in DC at Nuclear-Free Future Award

Beyond Nuclear is honored to co-host the 2015 Nuclear-Free Future Award which will be held in on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 28th.  You are invited to attend!

The prestigious Nuclear-Free Future Award honors those who have worked to rid the world of uranium mining, nuclear power and nuclear weapons. 

The Oct. 28 ceremony will take place from 6pm-9pm in Room B-338 of the Rayburn House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives, preceded by a 5pm reception.  Free and open to the public.

The honorary co-hosts of the evening are Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Congressman Jim P. McGovern (D-MA), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA).  Beyond Nuclear and Green Cross International (GCI) are the NGO co-hosts.

Please RSVP to Victoria Pennacchio (GCI) at no later than October 21 as space is limited and entry will be by RSVP list. 

Seven-time Grammy award-winning saxophonist Paul Winter, and composer and musician David Amram, winner of the 2012 Pete and Toshi Seeger Power of Song Award, will provide the musical entertainment.

The 2015 Nuclear-Free Future Award Laureates are:  

Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed (Resistance). In an act of passive civil disobedience, they gained entry to the Y-12 U.S. nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, TN, were arrested on site, tried, imprisoned and released earlier this year. 

Cornelia Hesse-Honegger (Education).  Her work illustrates deformities and mutations in the insect realm caused by exposure to radiation from nuclear power accidents and radioactive releases.  

The Honorable Tony deBrum (Solutions).  As Foreign Secretary of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the site of 67 Cold War atomic tests, he has led efforts to get the nine nuclear weapons states to fulfill their disarmament duties under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  

Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (Special Recognition).  As Austria’s Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has been instrumental in Austria’s international leadership in demanding a global ban on nuclear weapons.

Cree Youth of Mistissini (Special Recognition). Youth members of the Mistissini Cree First Nation in Quebec Province, Canada, led a successful campaign to ban uranium exploration, mining and waste storage on their land in Northern Quebec.  

The annual Nuclear-Free Future Award is sponsored by the Nuclear-Free Future Award Foundation in Germany and has been presented annually since 1998.  More information about the Award and Laureates can be found at:


Beyond Nuclear to present, please call-in to NIRS-sponsored Oct. 15th "Stop Fukushima Freeways" tele-conference briefing

The Mobile Chernobyl mock nuke waste cask, a full size replica of a truck shipping container, shown in front of the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO during a cross-country educational tourNIRS has announced:

STOP FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS: Keep Nuclear Waste Off Our Roads, Rails, and Urban Centers!

Telebriefing: Thursday, October 15th, 2015, 8 pm Eastern

Join the coordinated campaign media launch

Congress will order the transport of highly radioactive waste through our major cities, communities, farms and forests, and even our waterways, unless we say STOP!

If highly radioactive “spent” nuclear fuel went to a central site, how would it get there? This month our network of activists and allied organizations will show that picture.

Transporting the highly radioactive waste that has piled up at the nation’s nuclear power reactors is a far greater hazard than Congress or the federal government has admitted. These bodies also play down the risk that anything bad will happen. It is only rational to prevent extra and unnecessary shipments.

NIRS will host a telebriefing next Thursday, October 15, 2015, to share more information on transport.
Register for this telebriefing by clicking here. More.


Part 2 Enformable's first hand report from the Chernobyl site

This is Part 2  from Lucas Hixson, Enformable creator and Beyond Nuclear board member, on his first hand experience at the Chernobyl decommissioning site in northern Ukraine.  April 26, 2016 marks the three decades since the nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986 radioactively contaminated sections of Europe as far away as Scotland.



Beyond Nuclear testifies before Congress against Mobile Chernobyl, Yucca, and parking lot dumps

Detailed maps showing DOE's proposed Yucca dump bound high-level radioactive waste rail shipping routes in downtown Chicago.Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was invited as a witness at a hearing on "Transporting Nuclear Materials," held by the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee, Environment and the Economy Subcommittee on Oct. 1st. See the hearing description, with links to the witnesses' written testimony, as well as a video recording of the hearing, here.

Learn more about the hearing, including links to Kevin's introductory remarks and full written testimony, at Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste website section. You can also see a backgrounder, prepared by Beyond Nuclear and Nuclear Energy Information Service of IL, about DOE's plans to ship high-level radioactive waste by rail into the heart of downtown Chicago (see map, left). And last but not least, learn what you can do to help stop the Mobile Chernobyl, by taking action action NRC's attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca dump. More.