For information only - not an official document

30 January 2012

Radiation Experts Meet in Vienna to Assess Effects of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident

VIENNA, 30 January (UN Information Service) - A week-long meeting of 60 international experts assessing for the United Nations the radiation exposures and health effects due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011 opens today.

"We are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, evaluating the exposures of the general public, of workers, and radiation effects, and looking for the missing pieces," said Wolfgang Weiss, Chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

"At this meeting, the groups will be exploring where there are critical gaps in the data that are available, where additional focus is required, and how to ensure the quality and reliability of what our assessment is based upon," Weiss said.

Japan is providing data to the Committee together with input from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

There will be a preliminary report delivered to UNSCEAR's annual meeting (21-25 May) and a final report to the UN General Assembly in 2013.

The UNSCEAR assessment is being undertaken by four expert groups and the work was endorsed by resolution in the UN General Assembly last month. The 60 experts are provided cost free by 18 UN Member States.

Expansion of the Scientific Committee to 27 members from 21 was also approved by the General Assembly in December 2011. The new members are: Belarus, Finland, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Spain and Ukraine. Each State designates a scientist with associated advisers to represent it on the Committee.


The mandate of UNSCEAR, established in 1955, is to undertake broad reviews of the sources of ionizing radiation and the effects on human health and the environment. Its assessments provide a scientific foundation for the United Nations agencies and governments to formulate standards and programmes for protection against ionizing radiation.

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Note to reporters: Wolfgang Weiss will be available for interview by telephone on Tuesday.

For more information please contact:

Anne Thomas
Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5588
Mobile: (+43) 699-1459-5588
Email: anne.thomas[at]