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The Fukushima Accident and its Aftermath

You are cordially invited to attend the Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre Seminar on 'The Fukushima Accident and its Aftermath' led by Naomi Hirose Vice-Chairman of TEPCO (Fukushima Affairs) and Gerry Thomas of Imperial College. The event will take place on Wednesday 22 May in Lecture Theatre 6 at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department. Talks will be from 14:30 followed by questions and an opportunity to network.

Full Event Poster

More than eight years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Steady progress has been made towards the reconstruction of Fukushima, the repopulation of surrounding areas, and the decommissioning of the plant, of which Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) must shoulder $145 billion of the $200 billion total estimated cost of the accident. Meanwhile, with Japan having fully liberalised its electricity and gas retail market (in 2016 and 2017 respectively), the business environment surrounding TEPCO is undergoing a major change. In the long term, TEPCO foresees a decrease in demand for their power service and increased competition among utility companies.

Naomi Hirose was appointed to manage the Fukushima incident in March 2011, and went on to spearhead reform as President of TEPCO from 2012 to 2017. Naomi shares his insights on the current situation in Fukushima, lessons learned and implications from the accident.

The immediate radiobiological effects of the releases at Fukushima were the subject of much speculation in the media and still remain the subject of debate today.  Communication of the real risks of low dose radiation exposure to a variety of different audiences, from government ministers and their advisers to members of the communities directly affected by the accident, has been, and still remains, challenging.  A great many myths persist about the health effects from the Chernobyl accident in 1986, although the general consensus from scientific studies is that it is the fear of radiation, rather than the radiation itself that has a greater effect on health.  Our future energy policy should be informed by the scientific facts rather than the popular myths that surround nuclear power.  We cannot use evidenced-based science to argue for the need to mitigate climate change, yet ignore it when determining the safest method of electricity production.

Gerry Thomas has been involved in studies of the health impact of the Chernobyl accident since 1992.  She established the Chernobyl Tissue Bank in 1998, and has been involved in a number of reports for the IAEA, UNSCEAR and WHO.  Gerry has been involved in communication of radiation risks to the Japanese and UK government, and media organisations around the world.

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