Examples of practical activities related to public understanding of radiation risk following the Fukushima nuclear accident

Wataru Naito, Motoki Uesaka, Yujiro Kuroda, Takahiko Kono, Akihiro Sakoda, Hiroko Yoshida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, a number of practical activities related to public understanding (PU) of radiation risks were implemented inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture. The various noteworthy approaches and strategies behind those practical activities have not been organized and made explicit thus far. In this study, we have organized the noteworthy practical activities related to PU of radiation risks following the Fukushima nuclear accident, and discussed them mainly from the standpoints of communication strategies and approaches. As several examples demonstrate, efforts to contextualize and localize radiation risk in various forms were observed during post-accident recovery in Fukushima, and these efforts were confirmed, through actual experiences, to be an important component of effective PU activities of radiation risks. Community-based or citizen science approaches, such as having affected residents or citizens to measure radioactivity, have contributed to the PU of radiological situations, but some challenges, such as ethical aspects and the handling of uncertainty, have also been revealed. In the era of information and communications technology, a number of citizens, experts, and agencies have made social media a popular platform for disseminating radiation risk messages to the public and have demonstrated that social media can play an important role in providing radiological risk information. The knowledge and lessons learned from the practical activities discussed in this study can be useful in enhancing PU of risks not only radiation but also other stressors such as toxic chemicals, preparing future disasters and supporting risk communication plans during recovery periods after disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1


  • Fukushima nuclear accident
  • Public understanding
  • Radiological protection
  • Risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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