Nuclear emergencies cause major and long-term upheaval in the lives of those affected (including emergency and recovery workers, evacuees and residents of contaminated regions).
Some may suffer direct physical health impacts from radiation. Others may experience serious social and psychological consequences related to the immediate response to the accident (including evacuation and other exposure reduction measures), to long term measures (such as relocation and loss of home, social relations, work) and concerns and uncertainties about radiation levels and health.
The SHAMISEN project aims to draw the lessons from the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents and other major nuclear accidents around the world in order to make recommendations for immediate and long-term response to radiation accidents, aiming in particular to respond to the needs of affected populations while minimising unnecessary anxiety.
Recommendations will be made focusing on the following three complementary aspects:
- Dose assessment supporting emergency response, clinical decision-making in the aftermath of a nuclear emergency and long-term follow-up of exposed populations;
- Improvement of living conditions of affected populations, responding to their needs and engaging them in surveillance programmes while avoiding generation of unnecessary anxiety; and
- Improvement of population estimates of radiation-induced risk both for radiation protection and for communication with affected populations, if and where feasible.
Workshop in Oslo gathered 46 experts in dosimetry, epidemiology, medicine, psychiatry, radiation protection and ethics. The aim of the workshop is to discuss the results received so far in the projects and to start formulating final recommendations.
CERAD Research Director Deborah Oughton is leading subtask 3 of the project (responsible for the recommendations) as well as work on ethical issues, which are of direct relevance to screening and health surveillance after radiation accidents.