1 Feb 2012

Health impact small from Fukushima

8:14 am on 1 February 2012

A United Nations scientific committee investigating the effects of radiation from last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan says the overall health impact appears to have been relatively small.

Chairman Wolfgang Weiss says that's thanks partly to prompt evacuations, and partly to the fact that some radioactive releases spread over the ocean instead of populated areas.

Sixty international experts have been meeting in Vienna, Austria to assess the impact of the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

The disaster was caused by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi plant on 11 March last year.

Mr Weiss says Japanese experts attending the meeting told him they are not aware of any acute health effects, in contrast to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.