The doctors at Fukushima

In the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster, doctors in Fukushima were faced with difficulties in dealing with radiation – their preparations against nuclear incidents were scarce due to the overtrust in the safety of nuclear power.  

To assist their emergency rescues at hospitals and evacuation centres in a very chaotic situation, many experts from Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other parts of Japan were dispatched to Fukushima to help and teach them how to deal with radiation without panic. 

These doctors made crucial decisions on how to deal with radiation and to what levels of radiation exposure that were acceptable during the initial stages of the emergency, e.g. decontaminating the surface of the thousands of the evacuees from the evacuated area; treating the injured who were transported by helicopter from the power plant due to the hydrogen explosions, and who were thus considered seriously contaminated. 

Their decision-making, determination and courage was based on the knowledge, experience, and scientific data acquired through two atomic bombs in World War 2 as well as the Tokaimura JCO nuclear incident in 1999. 

Our world can learn from the experiences that Japan has been through, and the wisdom gained from these tragic nuclear incidents as well as the negative factors such as bureaucratic miscommunication hampered the response to the disaster in a timely and efficient manner.

There is much that was learned from the things that did not go well during the nuclear disaster mitigation efforts and rescue operations.

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