Organisation of the Environmental Monitoring: Lessons learnt from Fukushima


Madrid, Spain, June 13, 2018

Summary ou Abstract

In post-accident situations, the implementation of the environmental monitoring is essential for characterising the radiological situation of the affected territories, as well as, allowing people living in such territories to understand what is at stake in their own environment and so helping them to become actors of their own radiological protection. In this context, roles playing by institutional and non-institutional actors are determining factors to set up a sustainable monitoring, reach a consensus and so encourage the citizen vigilance.

This paper proposes an analysis of the Japanese situation 6 years after the Fukushima accident, in order to provide feedback experiences of the environmental monitoring implemented to cope with the post-accident situation. This analysis consists in (i) identifying the environmental schemes implemented following the Fukushima accident (ii) mapping the different actors who come into play in such situations and (iii) highlighting some local experiences developed by local associations or municipalities within the affected territories.

These overall goals have been achieved by interviewing different Japanese actors involved in the practical setting up of the environmental monitoring within the Fukushima prefecture. In this way, feedback experiences, points of view and comments have been collected from both institutional actors (e.g. Japan Nuclear Safety authority, Health and Labour Ministry, Fukushima prefecture, etc.) and local actors (e.g. local associations, municipalities, citizens, etc.) in November 2016.

Results of this study clearly show that the environmental monitoring implemented in Japan after the Fukushima accident gathers multiple actors on both national and local levels. The ‘Comprehensive Radiation Monitoring Plan’ (CRMP), set up by the Japanese government since August 2011 proposes a national monitoring system concerted, coherent and embracing all environmental compartments. However, all the results obtained under this plan are put online without harmonization. This leads to confusion on the published results, which besides are not largely consulted by the local population.

Indeed, at the local level, the mistrust towards government leads people living in the affected territory to implement their own environmental monitoring. However, these local data are heterogeneous and often redundant with the CRMP but have all the trust of their initiators.

In this context, the remaining issue consists in knowing how to go towards a better sharing between results produced by institutional and non-institutional actors. It appears that scientific experts, often involved in both sides, could play a key role in sharing these results, which represents a strong lesson learnt for the preparedness phase.