Radiation levels in JapanTuesday, 10 September 2013
As our New Zealand Team and Under 20s gear up for the International Surf Rescue Challenge (ISRC) in Japan, there has been some concern about them possibly coming into contact with radiation as a result of the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
There has been a lot of different information in the world media about radiation leaking from the power station into the ocean. The ISRC is being held at Onjuku Beach in Chiba, around 250 kilometres south from the power plant.
Over the last few weeks, Surf Life Saving officials have been monitoring the risks around the radiation leaks. Over the weekend we have also sought advice and reassurance from the Japan Lifesaving Association that there has been an adequate assessment of the risk to ISRC participants and that it is safe for our athletes to attend.
As of August 12, testing at Yotsukura Beach and Nakoso Beach, which are located 35 kilometres and 70 kilometers south of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, has shown no abnormal levels of radiation.
As of September 6, testing at Onjuku Beach itself has shown no abnormal levels of radiation.
As a result the Executive Committee of the ISRC is stating that Onjuku Beach has not been affected by the leak at Fukushima. However they are continuing to carry out weekly checks of water quality at Onjuku Beach until the completion of the ISRC.
After assessing this, and various other information, we are satisfied that our athletes won't be in danger of coming into contact with high levels of radiation and therefore we will still be sending our teams to the ISRC.
This information has been communicated with our athletes and their families and they have been given the option to withdraw from the competition if they wish and we will of course support their decision.
SLSNZ has sought advice from the following
- New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: www.safetravel.govt.nz/destinations/japan.shtml
- National Centre for Radiation Science: email addressed to Under 20s team manager Brent Wilson.
- International Atomic Energy Agency: www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2013/pdf/fact-sheet.pdf
- World Health Organisation: www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index.html
- Japan Lifesaving Association