For more information please get in touch with ARPANSA
- Phone Number(03) 9433 2211
- Fax Number(03) 9432 1835
- email ARPANSA
Date: 30 August 2013
Advice for Australians on exposure to radiation arising from the nuclear accident in Japan
ARPANSA has assessed that the impact on the health of people living in Australia from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident is negligible. This is based on measurements and studies undertaken by ARPANSA since March 2011. In October 2012 ARPANSA published its findings in the technical report Assessment of the impact on Australia from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident.
In December 2011 the Japanese Government announced that all reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site are in cold shutdown. This significantly reduces the likelihood of uncontrolled release of radiological materials to the atmosphere. In June 2013, the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi site announced that water contaminated with radioactive material has continued to leak into the Pacific Ocean since the accident.
In August 2013 it was announced that 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Site. The Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) rated this leak as a Level 3 ‘serious incident’ on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). The incident was rated as INES level 3 because of the potential for workers to be exposed to more than ten times the statutory annual dose limit and because severe contamination in an area not expected by design has occurred. There is a low probability of public radiation exposure from this event. The 2011 events at this site were rated at INES Level 7, a major accident resulting in widespread health and environmental effects.
The radiation levels in most parts of Japan, including Tokyo, are within the normal range of background radiation. More detailed travel advice for Japan, including the location of any restricted areas, can be found on the smartraveller website.
Radioactive contamination from previous and current releases is still present in the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and has the continued potential to affect food produced in the area. The Japanese Government has measures in place to monitor and restrict the distribution of any contaminated foods. Details of the Japanese monitoring program are provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Advice on imported foodstuffs to Australia is available at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), however it is not expected that contaminated foods will reach Australia.
ARPANSA continues to monitor the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and will provide further advice if there is a significant change to the situation in Japan.
For more information please refer to ARPANSA’s Frequently Asked Questions
For more information on the accident please refer to ARPANSA's article: Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident
Links to Australian Government Sites:
Smartraveller Travel Advice – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) - Biosecurity in Australia
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Links to International Sites:
Top of Page
For urgent media queries please contact: