HICARE in Hiroshima to dispatch team of radiation specialists to Fukushima

by Takuya Murata, Staff Writer

On March 15, the Hiroshima International Council for Health Care of the Radiation-exposed (HICARE), an organization formed by Hiroshima Prefecture, the City of Hiroshima, and other entities, decided to dispatch a team of specialists on radiation at the request of the governor of Fukushima Prefecture. This is HICARE’s second such dispatch due to a nuclear accident in Japan, following the criticality accident at the Tokaimura nuclear facility in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1999.

The team is comprised of seven members, including a radiological technician and a nurse from the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital and Atomic Bomb Survivors Hospital in downtown Hiroshima and Hiroshima University Hospital in Minami Ward, as well as a Hiroshima Prefectural employee and a Hiroshima City employee. The team will leave Hiroshima on March 16, and, from March 17 to 21, become engaged in the measurement of radiation doses suffered by local residents. They will be based in the city of Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture.

The city of Sukagawa is located in an inland area of Fukushima Prefecture, about 60 kilometers west of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where high doses of radiation have been detected. The team will not operate within a radius of 30 kilometers from the plant, an area under orders for residents to evacuate or stay indoors.

Meanwhile, the Radiation Emergency Medicine Promotion Center in Minami Ward will send another medical team on March 16. The team, which consists of eight members, including a doctor and a nurse, will replace the previously-dispatched team. On March 15, two administrative workers from the eight-member team headed for Fukushima in a car packed with food, drinking water, medical supplies, and other provisions.

(Originally published on March 16, 2011)