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Lessons learned from the nuclear and chemical accidents

OPERRA scientific meetings in CREAL review latest studies on health and psychosocial consequences of nuclear and chemical accidents

Thursday, October 22th, 2015

Lessons learned from the nuclear and chemical accidents

Within the OPERRA project, the Centre for Research in Environmental Health (CREAL), an ISGlobal allied center, and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) from Germany, organised two complementary workshops, held in Barcelona, drawing on lessons learned from inside and outside the radiation field. The first workshop on “Lessons learned about somatic health effects from radiation and non-radiation accidents", took place on 13th October 2015 and aimed  to review lessons learned about somatic effects from radiological and non-radiological accidents and to evaluate how those findings have been/can be taken into account in designing post-accidental responses and follow-up of affected populations. The second workshop on “Social and Psychological Consequences of Disasters and Emergencies", held on 14-15 October 2015, aimed to review ethical aspects and social and psychological effects of emergency situations (radiological and non-radiological) and to evaluate how those findings have been/can be taken into account in designing post-accidental interventions to alleviate the negative social and psychological consequences in affected populations.

Elisabeth Cardis, head of CREAL Radiation Programme and co-organizer of the meetings, explained that "the aim of the workshops was to share experiences on the circumstances of the accidents, methods used to identify and follow-up affected populations and evalulate their exposures and on what has been learned concerning the psychosocial  and health impacts of the  nuclear and chemical accidents. In this way, we intend to learn common lessons in order both to be more prepared for similar events in the future and to improve surveillance and assistance to persons affected by existing accidents."

Participants in the workshops included experts in the field of radiation and chemical accidents and health from Russia, Ukraine, Japan, India, the US and many European Countries. Among others, Josep Maria Antó, director of CREAL, talked about the Prestige disaster, Elisabeth Cardis about thyroid cancer in children and adults following the Chernobyl accident. Vadim Chumak, researcher at the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, presented an overview of reconstruction of radiation dose from Chernobyl in different exposed populations and Lydia Zablotska, of the University of California in San Francisco and Victor Ivanov, Chairman of the Russian Scientific Commission on Radiological Protection presented information on risk of leukaemia and other diseases (including cancer and non-cancer outcomes) in exposed populations. Koichi Tanigawa, from Fukushima Medical University in Japan, discussed the consequences of the evacuations on mortality of patients and the elderly, while Seiji Yasumura, Aya Goto and Makoto Miyasaki, from the same university, presented the follow-up of the populations affected by the Fukushima accident, their concerns and work being done with the populations in order to improve their quality of life. Evelyn Bromet from Stony Brooke University in the USA and Per Sandin, from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, among others, discussed the sociological and psychological impacts of catastrophes in general and of nuclear accidents in particular.


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