18 Février 2016
February 18, 2016
By YOHEI IZUMIDA/ Staff Writer
Universities in Fukushima Prefecture and the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will deepen collaboration on radiation exposure studies and expand a research network to help rebuilding efforts around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University and Fukushima Medical University will establish a joint research center in Hiroshima in the 2016 academic year, which starts in April.
The education minister approved plans for the center last month, and the facility will be operated on government funds.
Hiroshima University and Nagasaki University both have core facilities that have conducted decades-long studies on radiation. The two schools have dispatched researchers to the Fukushima Medical University since April 2011 for studies on the health effects of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March that year.
The three universities are expected to build research networks and expand cooperation at the new center.
“The study of low-level radiation exposure is growing urgent,” Mitsuo Ochi, president of Hiroshima University, said Feb. 17, when the university presidents signed the agreement to set up the center.
“We would like to fulfill our mission to contribute to Fukushima’s rebuilding efforts based on the results of basic research conducted by our university.”
The center will solicit research themes from across Japan in 10 areas, including assessments of the impact of low-level radiation doses on patients, development of methods to diagnose internal radiation exposure in patients, treatments of patients, and radiation protective agents.
Scientists who respond to the center’s request are expected to work together with researchers of the three universities.
The research center is also expected to cooperate with the Fukushima prefectural government on a program that assesses possible correlations between diseases and radiation doses.
In addition, it plans to offer advice on training people who are tasked to provide health care to those exposed to radiation.
The project also envisages providing assistance for workers who are exposed to radiation levels beyond expectations during the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.