News

  • 26 Mar 2011 10:49 AM | Anonymous
    Website of the International Atomic Energy Agency with daily updates regarding the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and conditions of the reactors
    www.iaea.org

    List of nationwide radioactivity by prefecture. Radiactivity in water and rain. Updated daily.
    http://atmc.jp/

    NHK WORLD web streaming news and information in English
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/



    Below is a portion of the Bulletin with wind conditions. For the full bulletin please visit www.smartraveller.gov.au

    Information on radiation for Australians in Japan

    This Bulletin is current for Sunday, 27 March 2011.
    The Bulletin was issued on Saturday, 26 March 2011, 21:43:21, EST.

    This travel bulletin should be read in conjunction with our travel advice for Japan.

    The Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on available information and current assessments:

    [top]

    Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan

    Advice for Australians remaining in Japan on food and water precautions, the availability and use of potassium iodide tablets and on appropriate sheltering from radiation if required have been provided today by Australia's Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

    Extensive advice on these new topics of concern, together with information for people returning from Japan and for use by GPs is contained on this website and is updated regularly.

    As a result of new assessments of the situation in Japan, ARPANSA and the Department of Health and Ageing recommended, as a precautionary measure, that Australians within an 80 km zone from the Fukushima nuclear power plant move out of the area.

    The US had made a similar recommendation in accordance with the standard guidelines of their Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their guidelines would require a zone of 80 km (50 miles) around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    ARPANSA is closely following the safety issues surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and in particular the current status of the four reactor units and the spent fuel ponds at a number of the reactor units. ARPANSA notes that the Japanese Government has increased the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES) rating for this event to INES Level 5 (an accident with wider consequences) for three of the reactor units.

    The ARPANSA modelling of airborne radioactive material released from Fukushima Dai-ichi predicts that for Saturday and Sunday any airborne radioactive material will be pushed south-east out to sea. There is a predicted wind shift along the east coast early Monday morning, airborne radioactive material in this region may be pushed to the west towards Tokyo city for a short period of time with a time of arrival Monday afternoon. At around lunchtime Monday there is a predicted wind shift around the reactor site, any airborne radioactive material will then be pushed to the north-west, with possible landfall to the northern part of mainland Japan later that day.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan outside the exclusion Zone to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets at this time.

    Discussions continue with medical organisations and state and territory health authorities on these issues. Further information will continue to be provided by the Australian Government as the situation develops.


  • 24 Mar 2011 9:21 PM | Anonymous
    The travel bulletin below is a copy from Smartraveller. Updated bulletins are posted every 12 hours or more frequently as required. Please visit the Smartraveller website for the most up to date information.

    This Bulletin is current for Thursday, 24 March 2011.
    The Bulletin was issued on Thursday, 24 March 2011, 21:06:33, EST.

    This travel bulletin should be read in conjunction with our travel advice for Japan.

    The Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on available information and current assessments:

    Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan

    Advice for Australians remaining in Japan on food and water precautions, the availability and use of potassium iodide tablets and on appropriate sheltering from radiation if required have been provided today by Australia's Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

    Extensive advice on these new topics of concern, together with information for people returning from Japan and for use by GPs is contained on this website and is updated regularly.

    As a result of new assessments of the situation in Japan, ARPANSA and the Department of Health and Ageing recommended, as a precautionary measure, that Australians within an 80 km zone from the Fukushima nuclear power plant move out of the area.

    The US had made a similar recommendation in accordance with the standard guidelines of their Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their guidelines would require a zone of 80 km (50 miles) around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    ARPANSA is closely following the safety issues surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and in particular the current status of the four reactor units and the spent fuel ponds at a number of the reactor units. ARPANSA notes that the Japanese Government has increased the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES) rating for this event to INES Level 5 (an accident with wider consequences) for three of the reactor units.

    The weather prediction information for the current period indicates that the wind conditions are quite complex. The ARPANSA modelling of airborne radioactive material released from Fukushima Dai-ichi predicts that the plumes would initially move toward the south east and then change direction to move toward the north, passing over mainland Japan. Following a wind shift late Friday evening AESDT, any plume is predicted to move towards the east out to sea. Releases of airborne radioactive material over this time period are not predicted to pass over Tokyo city.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan outside the exclusion Zone to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets at this time.

    Discussions continue with medical organisations and state and territory health authorities on these issues. Further information will continue to be provided by the Australian Government as the situation develops.

    Advice to Australians remaining in Japan

    Current Situation

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected reactors in Fukushima prefecture. These protective action zones may be revised by the Japanese Government as circumstances change.

    What should Australians remaining in Japan do?

    Australians remaining in Japan should follow any protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government. This may include evacuation or shelter in place orders.

    Australians remaining in Japan should not travel into the official evacuation or shelter in place zones. As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that Australians within an 80 km radius of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant move out of the area.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine prophylaxis is only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. The current situation does not require administration of iodine prophylaxis. This situation may change and Australians remaining in Japan should follow recommendations of the Japanese Government in this regard.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of exposure. Australians remaining in Japan may be exposed to low levels of radiation associated with contaminants released from the damaged nuclear reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There is no specific health test available for low level radiation exposure and no medical treatment is required.

    Australians in Japan may find www.mofa.go.jp/ a helpful English language website with local information.

    Shelter in place (sheltering)

    In the event of a significant release of radiation, Japanese public health and emergency management officials may advise people in a specified area to take shelter. This is known as “shelter in place” or “sheltering”. Shelter in place involves keeping members of the population indoors, in suitable buildings, to reduce radiation exposure from airborne radioactivity and from ‘ground or sky shine’. Shelter in place is not recommended for a period exceeding 48 hours as the efficacy of this measure reduces over time. Sheltering is effective until the concentrations of radionuclides within the shelter become comparable with those outside. Sheltering must be stopped when the concentrations outside begin to decline below those inside (e.g. when the source of exposure has been removed or any ‘cloud’ containing radioactive material has passed). The time scale during which sheltering may be useful ranges from a few hours to a couple of days. The Japanese authorities will advise when to begin and cease shelter in place arrangements.

    While sheltering, people should be aware of the heating devices used in the enclosed space. Heaters and other devices that run on oil, gas, coal or wood should be avoided while sheltering due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. When sheltering in cold conditions, it is recommended that extra layers of clothing be worn or electrical heaters to used.

    What to do if you are advised to take shelter:

    • During the early stages of a release of radioactive material, while a radioactive plume of mixed radionuclides is passing, a large proportion of the individual radiation dose may arise from inhalation.
    • Sheltering in a building can reduce the radiation dose from inhalation by a factor of 2 and external radiation doses from the passing plume can be reduced by a factor of 10 for brick or large buildings.
    • Light weight or open buildings provide less protection.
    • If you are advised to take shelter you should:
      • Turn off the air conditioner, ventilation fans and furnace and close fireplace dampers and other air intakes.
      • Close and lock all windows and doors.
      • Go to the basement or other underground area if possible.
      • Stay as far away from windows and doors as possible.
      • Place physical barriers, such as lead, earth, concrete or stacks of books between yourself and the source of the radiation to provide shielding from gamma radiation.
    • If you are outside when you are advised to shelter, remove clothing and shoes and place them in a plastic bag before entering the house. During severe weather, such as extreme cold, remove at least the outer layer of clothes before entering the home to avoid bringing radioactive material into your shelter. Leave clothing and shoes outside. Shower and wash your body with soap and water. Removing clothing can eliminate up to 90% of radioactive contamination.
    • When you move to your shelter, use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal any doors, windows, or vents for a short period of time while a radiation plume is passing over. Within a few hours, you should remove the plastic and duct tape and ventilate the room. Suffocation could occur if you keep the shelter tightly sealed for more than a few hours.
    • Sheltering is not recommended for longer than 48 hours. This period may be less, depending on climatic conditions.

    Advice on potassium iodide tablets

    The Australian Government has sent potassium iodide tablets to the Embassy in Tokyo. Should it be required, additional supplies are available.

    These tablets have been provided as a precautionary step and would be made available only when deemed medically necessary for those Australians in Japan exposed to substantial doses of radiation. At this stage, radiation levels are much lower than the levels at which potassium iodide tablets would be needed. On 20 March, Japanese authorities announced radiation levels by prefecture for 19 March, which indicated a gradual decline in radiation levels around the country.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that potassium iodide tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets. There is no need for any Australian to visit the Embassy requesting tablets. The circumstances in Japan are under constant review and Australians will be notified if this advice changes.

    When would I be advised to take potassium iodide tablets?

    In the event of a significant release of radiation containing high levels of radioactive iodine, Japanese public health and emergency management officials may advise people in a specified area to take potassium iodide.

    Advice on the points of distribution and when to take Australian Government potassium iodide tablets will be given by the Australian Government. The advice will be provided by the Chief Medical Officer after consultation with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

    Advice to take the medicine would be given when it was considered that there was a risk of exposure to a level of radioactive iodine within the body that could cause damage to the thyroid gland. In children, the level of radioactive iodine that can cause damage is lower than it is for adults. Therefore, advice may be given for children to have potassium iodide but not for adults.

    The Australian Government is aware of the decision by the UK Government on 19 March, via its travel advisory that it would begin distributing iodine pills to British citizens in Tokyo, Sendai and Niigata as a contingency measure, with instructions only to take the pills when advised to do so by the British or Japanese government (stating that scientific advice was not to take the pills in the current situation).

    At this stage, there is no need to distribute iodine tablets to all Australians in Japan. If necessary, tablets will be distributed based on the risks to the affected population. On 20 March potassium iodide tablets were provided to eight Australians and their dependents known to be in the Sendai area. The use of the tablets is only on approval of the Chief Medical Officer.

    Do not take potassium iodide unless you are instructed

    In the situation where significant exposure to radioactive iodine may occur, the benefits of potassium iodide greatly outweigh the risk of side effects. It is important, however, that people only take potassium iodide when instructed to do so and that they carefully follow dose instructions. Adverse health effects from potassium iodine are usually mild, such as an upset stomach. The medicine, however, can cause allergies and may result in thyroid problems. Adverse health events are more likely if you take more potassium iodide than recommended.

    If people are asked to take the tablets they should report any side effects to their doctor. Where more than one dose is required, pregnant and breast-feeding women and babies under the age of one month should seek advice from their GP and have their thyroid function monitored by their doctor. People with known allergy to iodine should not take potassium iodide.

    What to do if you are advised to take potassium iodide

    Potassium iodide (KI) is a medicine which can protect the thyroid gland from harmful effects of contamination with radioactive iodine that has been inhaled or ingested from contaminated food or water. It does not protect any other part of the body, nor does it protect from other radioactive materials which people may be contaminated with at the same time.

    Potassium iodide tablets must be used in conjunction with other emergency protection measures such as evacuation or sheltering.

    Timely administration is essential for KI to be protective. It must be taken at least an hour before exposure or within 24 hours of exposure (the earlier after exposure the better). For a one-time exposure take one dose as soon as possible after you are advised to take it. Do not take a dose if more than 24 hours has passed since a one-time exposure. One dose provides protection for 24 hours, so for continuing exposures, take a dose every 24 hours until the danger has passed and you are advised to stop.

    You will be given dose directions and instructions on how to take the medicine when you are given the medicine. If you are given Australian Government potassium iodide (KI) tablets, you will be given a printed instruction sheet.

    The Australian Embassy will advise on where you can get access to supplies of potassium iodide.

    Facts about potassium iodide

    Potassium iodide is an iodine salt in medicine form. Iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Most of the iodine in our bodies comes from the food we eat. Potassium iodide is given to people who have been exposed to radioactive iodine due to a nuclear emergency to protect the thyroid gland from harm.

    Potassium iodide acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland and helps protect the gland from injury. The thyroid gland will only take in a certain amount of iodine. If harmless iodine from the potassium iodide fills the thyroid gland it blocks the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.

    Advice to Australians returning from Japan who have concerns about possible exposure to radiation

    Current Situation

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected reactors in Fukushima prefecture. The Australian Government has recommended that Australians within an 80 km radius of the damaged reactors in Fukushima move out of the area.

    The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is closely monitoring the nuclear situation in Japan. ARPANSA advises that for Australians returning from Japan there is a chance of exposure to low levels of radiation associated with releases from damaged nuclear reactors. Exposures are more probable for those who were in Fukushima prefecture or immediate surrounding areas subsequent to 11 March 2011. In addition Australians who were in the region of the recently revised exclusion zone of up to 80 km away from the reactors would have been exposed to even lower levels of radiation as they were even further away.

    What to do if you are worried?

    As precautionary measures people should shower, washing hair and body, and wash clothes. These simple measures should effectively remove any low level contamination which may have been present. There has been advice given in related information about circumstances where stable iodine may be required to be administered. There is no requirement for the administration of stable iodine for someone returning to Australia from Japan.

    If on return to Australia you or your family are concerned about possible exposure to radiation, you should visit your local GP and let them know where in Japan you were.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of exposure. Australians returning from Japan may have been exposed to low levels of radiation associated with contaminants released from damaged nuclear reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There is no specific health test available for low level radiation exposure and no medical treatment is required.

    Food and Water: Food and Water in Japan and Food Imported from Japan

    Food and Water in Japan: All Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to follow the protective measures recommended by Japanese authorities in relation to food and water safety. Food Standards Australia New Zealand recommends the following more general precautions be adopted:

    1. All food stored inside since sheltering was advised, such as food in the home, shops or other buildings, should be safe.
    2. Foods that are well packaged (i.e. in tins, cartons or bottles including bottled water) should also be safe, even if carried outside while sheltering is advised.
    3. As a precautionary measure, avoid foods that may have been outdoors in the affected areas such as fresh produce from crops grown in the fields, gardens or allotments or sold loose in outdoor markets.
    4. Fish, shellfish and seaweed products from affected areas should also be avoided.
    5. Avoid milk that comes from an affected area. Imported milk products from countries outside Japan should be safe.
    6. Bottled water and tap water in areas not affected by radioactive contamination, is safe to drink. Water sourced within areas that have been contaminated by airborne radioactivity may contain increased levels of radioactivity. Australians should follow the health warnings provided by the Japanese Government on the safety of water within specific areas.
    7. On 23 March Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that infants up to 12 months old in Tokyo (covering the 23 wards of central Tokyo, Musashino City, Machida City, Tama City, Inagi City, and Mitaka City) should not drink tap water. Radioactive iodine in levels exceeding the Japanese standards (for that age group) was detected in water tested at one of the city’s water purification plants. Australians should follow this advice.
    8. Tap water remains safe for Australians older than twelve months.
    9. Australians remaining in Japan should follow any protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government.

    Food Imported from Japan:

    In its most recent assessment of the situation in Japan, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has noted that the Japanese Government has moved to place new restrictions on certain foods sourced from areas of Japan where radiation contamination has occurred. As a precautionary measure, and consistent with approaches internationally, FSANZ has today requested the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to institute a Holding Order for all foods of interest originating from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi. Foods of interest in this context are milk and milk products, fresh fruit and vegetables, seaweed and seafood (fresh and frozen).

    Advice to date has indicated that the risk currently posed by Japanese foods imported into Australia is neglible as Australia does not import fresh produce or milk products from Japan. In fact, Australia imports very little food from Japan. Imports are limited to a small range of specialty products, for example seaweed-based products, sauces etc.

    However, consistent with approaches internationally and as a precautionary measure the Australian Government has asked FSANZ to liaise with other Australian regulators, such as ARPANSA, the AQIS and Customs, to ensure a coordinated approach to managing any potential risks to the Australian food supply chain and the monitoring of any foodstuffs from the affected prefectures entering Australia.

    This information from ARPANSA and DOHA is current as at 2100 hrs (AEDST) on 24 March 2011. This information will be updated every 12 hours or more frequently as required.

  • 23 Mar 2011 9:47 PM | Anonymous

    Information on radiation for Australians in Japan

    This Bulletin is current for Wednesday, 23 March 2011.
    The Bulletin was issued on Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 21:20:18, EST.

    This travel bulletin should be read in conjunction with our travel advice for Japan.

    The Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on information from Japanese authorities:

    Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan

    Advice for Australians remaining in Japan on food and water precautions, the availability and use of potassium iodide tablets and on appropriate sheltering from radiation if required have been provided today by Australia's Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

    Extensive advice on these new topics of concern, together with information for people returning from Japan and for use by GPs is contained on this website and is updated regularly.

    As a result of new assessments of the situation in Japan, ARPANSA and the Department of Health and Ageing recommended, as a precautionary measure, that Australians within an 80 km zone from the Fukushima nuclear power plant move out of the area.

    The US had made a similar recommendation in accordance with the standard guidelines of their Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their guidelines would require a zone of 80 km (50 miles) around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    ARPANSA is closely following the safety issues surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and in particular the current status of the four reactor units and the spent fuel ponds at a number of the reactor units. ARPANSA notes that the Japanese Government has increased the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES) rating for this event to INES Level 5 (an accident with wider consequences) for three of the reactor units.

    Predictions show that for the period till Thursday midday AESDT, any plume released from Fukushima Dai-ichi is expected to move over the sea, initially to the south east and then to the east. Following a wind change at midday Thursday AESDT, any plume released from Fukushima Dai-ichi is predicted to move to the north, with a possible landfall 125km to the north, after which the plume continues towards the east out to sea. This behaviour continues to the end of the period assessed. Releases of airborne radioactive material over this time period are not predicted to pass over Tokyo city.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan outside the exclusion Zone to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets at this time.

    Discussions continue with medical organisations and state and territory health authorities on these issues. Further information will continue to be provided by the Australian Government as the situation develops.

    Advice to Australians remaining in Japan

    Current Situation

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected reactors in Fukushima prefecture. These protective action zones may be revised by the Japanese Government as circumstances change.

    What should Australians remaining in Japan do?

    Australians remaining in Japan should follow any protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government. This may include evacuation or shelter in place orders.

    Australians remaining in Japan should not travel into the official evacuation or shelter in place zones. As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that Australians within an 80 km radius of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant move out of the area.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine prophylaxis is only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. The current situation does not require administration of iodine prophylaxis. This situation may change and Australians remaining in Japan should follow recommendations of the Japanese Government in this regard.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of exposure. Australians remaining in Japan may be exposed to low levels of radiation associated with contaminants released from the damaged nuclear reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There is no specific health test available for low level radiation exposure and no medical treatment is required.

    Australians in Japan may find www.mofa.go.jp/ an helpful English language website with local information.

    Shelter in place (sheltering)

    In the event of a significant release of radiation, Japanese public health and emergency management officials may advise people in a specified area to take shelter. This is known as “shelter in place” or “sheltering”. Shelter in place involves keeping members of the population indoors, in suitable buildings, to reduce radiation exposure from airborne radioactivity and from ‘ground or sky shine’. Shelter in place is not recommended for a period exceeding 48 hours as the efficacy of this measure reduces over time. Sheltering is effective until the concentrations or radionuclides within the shelter become comparable with those outside. Sheltering must be stopped when concentrations outside begin to decline below those inside (e.g. when the source of exposure has been removed or any 'cloud' containing radioactive material has passed). The timescale during which sheltering may be useful ranges from a few hours to a couple of days.

    What to do if you are advised to take shelter:

    • During the early stages of a release of radioactive material, while a radioactive plume of mixed radionuclides is passing, a large proportion of the individual radiation dose may arise from inhalation.
    • Sheltering in a building can reduce the radiation dose from inhalation by a factor of 2 and external radiation doses from the passing plume can be reduced by a factor of 10 for brick or large buildings.
    • Light weight or open buildings provide less protection.
    • If you are advised to take shelter you should:
      • Turn off the air conditioner, ventilation fans and furnace and close fireplace dampers and other air intakes.
      • Close and lock all windows and doors.
      • Go to the basement or other underground area if possible.
      • Stay as far away from windows and doors as possible.
      • Place physical barriers, such as lead, earth, concrete or stacks of books between yourself and the source of the radiation to provide shielding from gamma radiation.
    • If you are outside when you are advised to shelter, remove clothing and shoes and place them in a plastic bag before entering the house. During severe weather, such as extreme cold, remove at least the outer layer of clothes before entering the home to avoid bringing radioactive material into your shelter. Leave clothing and shoes outside. Shower and wash your body with soap and water. Removing clothing can eliminate up to 90% of radioactive contamination.
    • When you move to your shelter, use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal any doors, windows, or vents for a short period of time while a radiation plume is passing over. Within a few hours, you should remove the plastic and duct tape and ventilate the room. Suffocation could occur if you keep the shelter tightly sealed for more than a few hours.
    • Sheltering is not recommended for longer than 48 hours. This period may be less, depending on climatic conditions.

    Advice on potassium iodide tablets

    The Australian Government has sent potassium iodide tablets to the Embassy in Tokyo. Should it be required, additional supplies are available.

    These tablets have been provided as a precautionary step and would be made available only when deemed medically necessary for those Australians in Japan exposed to substantial doses of radiation. At this stage, radiation levels are much lower than the levels at which potassium iodide tablets would be needed. On 20 March, Japanese authorities announced radiation levels by prefecture for 19 March, which indicated a gradual decline in radiation levels around the country.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that potassium iodide tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets. There is no need for any Australian to visit the Embassy requesting tablets. The circumstances in Japan are under constant review and Australians will be notified if this advice changes.

    When would I be advised to take potassium iodide tablets?

    In the event of a significant release of radiation containing high levels of radioactive iodine, Japanese public health and emergency management officials may advise people in a specified area to take potassium iodide.

    Advice on the points of distribution and when to take Australian Government potassium iodide tablets will be given by the Australian Government. The advice will be provided by the Chief Medical Officer after consultation with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

    Advice to take the medicine would be given when it was considered that there was a risk of exposure to a level of radioactive iodine within the body that could cause damage to the thyroid gland. In children, the level of radioactive iodine that can cause damage is lower than it is for adults. Therefore, advice may be given for children to have potassium iodide but not for adults.

    The Australian Government is aware of the decision by the UK Government on 19 March, via its travel advisory that it would begin distributing iodine pills to British citizens in Tokyo, Sendai and Niigata as a contingency measure, with instructions only to take the pills when advised to do so by the British or Japanese government (stating that scientific advice was not to take the pills in the current situation).

    At this stage, there is no need to distribute iodine tablets to all Australians in Japan. If necessary, tablets will be distributed based on the risks to the affected population. On 20 March potassium iodide tablets were provided to eight Australians and their dependents known to be in the Sendai area. The use of the tablets is only on approval of the Chief Medical Officer.

    Do not take potassium iodide unless you are instructed

    In the situation where significant exposure to radioactive iodine may occur, the benefits of potassium iodide greatly outweigh the risk of side effects. It is important, however, that people only take potassium iodide when instructed to do so and that they carefully follow dose instructions. Adverse health effects from potassium iodine are usually mild, such as an upset stomach. The medicine, however, can cause allergies and may result in thyroid problems. Adverse health events are more likely if you take more potassium iodide than recommended.

    If people are asked to take the tablets they should report any side effects to their doctor. Where more than one dose is required, pregnant and breast-feeding women and babies under the age of one month should seek advice from their GP and have their thyroid function monitored by their doctor. People with known allergy to iodine should not take potassium iodide.

    What to do if you are advised to take potassium iodide

    Potassium iodide (KI) is a medicine which can protect the thyroid gland from harmful effects of contamination with radioactive iodine that has been inhaled or ingested from contaminated food or water. It does not protect any other part of the body, nor does it protect from other radioactive materials which people may be contaminated with at the same time.

    Potassium iodide tablets must be used in conjunction with other emergency protection measures such as evacuation or sheltering.

    Timely administration is essential for KI to be protective. It must be taken at least an hour before exposure or within 24 hours of exposure (the earlier after exposure the better). For a one-time exposure take one dose as soon as possible after you are advised to take it. Do not take a dose if more than 24 hours has passed since a one-time exposure. One dose provides protection for 24 hours, so for continuing exposures, take a dose every 24 hours until the danger has passed and you are advised to stop.

    You will be given dose directions and instructions on how to take the medicine when you are given the medicine. If you are given Australian Government potassium iodide (KI) tablets, you will be given a printed instruction sheet.

    The Australian Embassy will advise on where you can get access to supplies of potassium iodide.

    Facts about potassium iodide

    Potassium iodide is an iodine salt in medicine form. Iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Most of the iodine in our bodies comes from the food we eat. Potassium iodide is given to people who have been exposed to radioactive iodine due to a nuclear emergency to protect the thyroid gland from harm.

    Potassium iodide acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland and helps protect the gland from injury. The thyroid gland will only take in a certain amount of iodine. If harmless iodine from the potassium iodide fills the thyroid gland it blocks the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.

    Advice to Australians returning from Japan who have concerns about possible exposure to radiation

    Current Situation

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected reactors in Fukushima prefecture. The Australian Government has recommended that Australians within an 80 km radius of the damaged reactors in Fukushima move out of the area.

    The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is closely monitoring the nuclear situation in Japan. ARPANSA advises that for Australians returning from Japan there is a chance of exposure to low levels of radiation associated with releases from damaged nuclear reactors. Exposures are more probable for those who were in Fukushima prefecture or immediate surrounding areas subsequent to 11 March 2011. In addition Australians who were in the region of the recently revised exclusion zone of up to 80 km away from the reactors would have been exposed to even lower levels of radiation as they were even further away.

    What to do if you are worried?

    As precautionary measures people should shower, washing hair and body, and wash clothes. These simple measures should effectively remove any low level contamination which may have been present. There has been advice given in related information about circumstances where stable iodine may be required to be administered. There is no requirement for the administration of stable iodine for someone returning to Australia from Japan.

    If on return to Australia you or your family are concerned about possible exposure to radiation, you should visit your local GP and let them know where in Japan you were.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of exposure. Australians returning from Japan may have been exposed to low levels of radiation associated with contaminants released from damaged nuclear reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There is no specific health test available for low level radiation exposure and no medical treatment is required.

    Food and Water: Food and Water in Japan and Food Imported from Japan

    Food and Water in Japan: All Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to follow the protective measures recommended by Japanese authorities in relation to food and water safety. Food Standards Australia New Zealand recommends the following more general precautions be adopted:

    1. All food stored inside since sheltering was advised, such as food in the home, shops or other buildings, should be safe.
    2. Foods that are well packaged (i.e. in tins, cartons or bottles including bottled water) should also be safe, even if carried outside while sheltering is advised.
    3. As a precautionary measure, avoid foods that may have been outdoors in the affected areas such as fresh produce from crops grown in the fields, gardens or allotments or sold loose in outdoor markets.
    4. Fish, shellfish and seaweed products from affected areas should also be avoided.
    5. Avoid milk that comes from an affected area. Imported milk products from countries outside Japan should be safe.
    6. Bottled water and tap water in areas not affected by radioactive contamination is safe to drink. Water sourced within areas that have been contaminated by airborne radiocativity may contain increased levels of radioactivity. Australians should follow health warnings provided by the Japanese Government on the safety of water within specific areas.

    Food Imported from Japan:

    In its most recent assessment of the situation in Japan, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has noted that the Japanese Government has moved to place new restrictions on certain foods sourced from areas of Japan where radiation contamination has occurred. As a precautionary measure, and consistent with approaches internationally, FSANZ has today requested the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to institute a Holding Order for all foods of interest originating from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Tochigi. Foods of interest in this context are milk and milk products, fresh fruit and vegetables, seaweed and seafood (fresh and frozen).

    Advice to date has indicated that the risk currently posed by Japanese foods imported into Australia is neglible as Australia does not import fresh produce or milk products from Japan. In fact, Australia imports very little food from Japan. Imports are limited to a small range of specialty products, for example seaweed-based products, sauces etc.

    However, consistent with approaches internationally and as a precautionary measure the Australian Government has asked FSANZ to liaise with other Australian regulators, such as ARPANSA, the AQIS and Customs, to ensure a coordinated approach to managing any potential risks to the Australian food supply chain and the monitoring of any foodstuffs from the affected prefectures entering Australia.

    This information from ARPANSA and DOHA is current as at 2100 hrs (AEDST) on 23 March 2011. This information will be updated every 12 hours or more frequently as required.

  • 20 Mar 2011 8:48 PM | Anonymous
    The travel advice for Japan has been reviewed and reissued.

    It contains new information under Health Issues (advice on sheltering and
    decontamination provided by the Department of Health and Ageing and advice
    on food and water safety provided by Food Standards Australia New Zealand).
    It also contains latest advice from the Australian Radiation Protection and
    Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on new International Atomic Energy Agency's
    International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) rating and
    changed weather conditions. A link to the ARPANSA website is also contained
    in the lastest advice.

    The level of the advice for northern Honshu (including Tokyo and
    surrounding districts) remains at “Do not travel”. The overall level of the
    advice for Japan remains at “Exercise a high degree of caution”.

    http://www.smartraveller.gov.au

    Please refer to the website for the most up-to-date issue of the travel
    advice.

    DFAT Crisis Centre
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • 19 Mar 2011 8:31 AM | Anonymous
    The Department of Health and Ageing and Australian Radiation Protection and
    Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure
    to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on information
    from Japanese authorities:

    New INES rating and changed wind conditions: ARPANSA and the Department of
    Health and Ageing has been continually assessing the nuclear situation in
    Japan and has recommended, as a precautionary measure, that Australians
    within an 80 km zone from the Fukushima nuclear power plant move out of the
    area.

    Note this recommendation is not based on any current danger in the zone,
    but is a precautionary measure based on the current uncertainty.

    The US has made a similar recommendation in accordance with the standard
    guidelines of their Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their guidelines would
    require a zone of 80 km (50 miles) around the Fukushima nuclear power
    plant.

    ARPANSA is closely following the safety issues surrounding the Fukushima
    Dai-ichi site and in particular the current status of effect of hydrogen
    explosions, fire and aftershocks on the four reactor units and the status
    of spent fuel ponds at a number of the reactor units. ARPANSA notes that
    the Japanese Government has increased the INES rating for this event to
    INES level 5 (an accident with wider consequences) for three of the reactor
    units.

    For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on
    current information, ARPANSA advises that, given the projected wind
    conditions for the next 24 hours which are heading in a south east
    direction, any radioactivity that may eventuate from a deterioration in the
    current status of any of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor units, would be
    dispersed over the sea.

    However, the weather forecasts predict a weather change on the morning of
    Sunday March 20. From Sunday morning, the behaviour of the winds is quite
    complex, with many wind shifts over the subsequent days. Any airborne
    radioactivity released during this period is predicted to pass across
    mainland Japan.

    Given these predicted weather conditions if there is a significant release
    of radioactive material there is the potential for people in the Fukushima
    area and other parts of mainland Japan to be exposed to some level of
    radiation. Outside the 80 km protective zone the impacts on human health
    are still expected to be low. The radiation levels within the 80 km
    protective zone will vary with direction and distance from the release
    point.

    As the situation continues to develop, all Australians in Japan are
    strongly encouraged to follow the protective measures recommended by the
    Japanese and Australian Governments. This may include sheltering.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be
    contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require
    checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice
    they should contact their local GP.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine tablets are only
    required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive
    iodine. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in
    Japan outside the exclusion Zone to consider the use of potassium iodide
    tablets.

    Meetings have been held with GP representatives, the Department of Health
    and Ageing, and ARPANSA to ensure that people who present with inquiries
    about radiation exposure will receive consistent advice.

    Discussions are ongoing between jurisdictions. Further information will
    continue to be provided by the Australian Government as the situation
    develops.

    Advice to Australians remaining in Japan:

    Current Situation

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a
    number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release
    of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has
    imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected
    reactors in Fukushima prefecture. These protective action zones may be
    revised by the Japanese Government as circumstances change.

    What should Australians remaining in Japan do?

    Australians remaining in Japan should follow any protective measures
    recommended by the Japanese Government. This may include evacuation or
    shelter in place orders..

    Australians remaining in Japan should not travel into the official
    evacuation or shelter in place zones. As a precautionary measure, it is
    recommended that Australians within an 80 km radius of the Fukushima
    Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant move out of the area.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine prophylaxis is
    only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses from radioactive
    iodine. The current situation does not require administration of iodine
    prophylaxis. This situation may change and Australians remaining in Japan
    should follow recommendations of the Japanese Government in this regard.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of
    exposure. Australians remaining in Japan may be exposed to low levels of
    radiation associated with contaminants released from the damaged nuclear
    reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There
    is no specific health test available for low level radiation exposure and
    no medical treatment is required.

    Australians in Japan may find www.mofa.go.jp/ an helpful English language
    website with local information.

    Advice to Australians returning from Japan who have concerns about possible
    exposure to radiation:

    Current Situation:

    The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has damaged a
    number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan resulting in release
    of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere. The Japanese Government has
    imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones around affected
    reactors in Fukushima prefecture. The Australian Government has recommended
    that Australians within an 80 km radius of the damaged reactors in
    Fukushima move out of the area.

    The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is
    closely monitoring the nuclear situation in Japan. ARPANSA advises that for
    Australians returning from Japan there is a chance of exposure to low
    levels of radiation associated with releases from damaged nuclear reactors.
    Exposures are more probable for those who were in Fukushima prefecture or
    immediate surrounding areas subsequent to 11 March 2011. In addition
    Australians who were in the region of the recently revised exclusion zone
    of up to 80 km away from the reactors would have been exposed to even lower
    levels of radiation as they were even further away.

    What to do if you are worried?

    As precautionary measures people should shower, washing hair and body, and
    wash clothes. These simple measures should effectively remove any low level
    contamination which may have been present. There has been advice given in
    related information about circumstances where stable iodine may be required
    to be administered. There is no requirement for the administration of
    stable iodine for someone returning to Australian from either the official
    evacuation zone of 20 km or the Australian government's revised evacuation
    zone of 80km.

    If on return to Australia you or your family are concerned about possible
    exposure to radiation, you should visit your local GP and let them know
    where in Japan you were.

    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?

    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of
    exposure. Australians returning from Japan may have been exposed to low
    levels of radiation associated with contaminants released from damaged
    nuclear reactors. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical
    symptoms. There is no specific health test available for low level
    radiation exposure and no medical treatment is required.


    *Current as at 0300 hrs (AEDST) on 19 March 2011.  This information will be
    updated every six hours or more frequently as required.*


    Other information

    Incidents at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant:

    There have been three explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in
    Okumacho in Fukushima Prefecture since 12 March. The plant is located on
    the east coast of Honshu 240 kilometres north of Tokyo.
    Japanese authorities have declared an evacuation zone around the facility.
    Efforts to suppress fires at the facility and to stabilise the damaged
    plant are continuing.

    While information on radiation levels and wind direction appear unchanged
    the situation at the power plant is not stable and it is unclear what will
    evolve.

    The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has provided a Protective
    Action Recommendation to US residents in Japan that it is appropriate for
    US residents within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of the Fukushima reactor to
    evacuate.

    Australians should not travel to the area surrounding the affected power
    plant. Australians within 80 kilometres of the facility should evacuate
    immediately and follow the instructions of authorities.

    Disruption to essential services:

    Telephone and communications services have also been severely disrupted
    throughout the affected area as a result of damaged infrastructure. JR
    trains and road networks are heavily affected throughout the tsunami and
    earthquake affected area.

    The most heavily affected areas are also without essential services and
    there are reports of shortages of food and water.

    There has been significant disruption to essential services in other parts
    of Japan since 11 March. Tokyo and surrounding earthquake-affected
    districts have been subject to unpredictable disruptions to essential
    services such as transport and electric power. There are reports of
    shortages of supplies to retail outlets in the region. This includes the
    deliberate shutdown of some train links and power services by Japanese
    authorities seeking to divert electricity elsewhere. Information on power
    cuts is available on the Tokyo Electric Power Company website.

    Because of disruption to essential services, infrastructure damage, strong
    aftershocks and continuing uncertainty about the status of the Fukushima
    Nuclear Power Plant, Australians in Tokyo and northern Honshu should,
    unless their presence in Japan is essential, make arrangements to leave;
    either to Southern Japan or elsewhere. It is for the same reasons that the
    Australian Government is authorising the voluntary departure of dependants
    of Australian officials from Tokyo.

    On 13 March 2011, Japanese officials announced a program of rolling power
    cuts that will affect other parts of Japan. These power cuts will commence
    in Tokyo on 14 March and are likely to affect a range of services such as
    railways and communications networks, and may include parts of the country
    not affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Authorities have blocked the
    main freeways to north east Honshu due to the damage in these areas. Please
    note weather condition as some of these Prefectures still have snow.

    Narita Airport has re-opened, although flights to and from the Airport are
    experiencing disruptions. Train services to the Airport will be subject to
    intermittent disruption due to rolling electricity cuts aimed at conserving
    power. These cuts will affect many parts of Japan. On 14 March 2011, train
    services to Narita airport have been cancelled. Other rail services are
    likely to be affected. You should expect lengthy delays if travelling to
    Narita airport by road. You should allow sufficient travel time to make
    your scheduled flight. Sendai, Yamagata and Hanamaki airports in Tohoku
    (northern) region remain closed. Amami and Kikajima airports in Kagoshima
    Prefecture in Kyushu are also closed. Haneda Airport in Tokyo is running
    some flights. Osaka Airport is operational.

    There is currently good availability on commercial flights out of Japan to
    Australia and elsewhere eg. Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. You should
    check with your airline or travel agent for the latest information on
    flights. There is an Embassy team at Narita airport to provide assistance
    as necessary.

    The government will continue to monitor commercial flight availability and
    will remain in contact with commercial airlines about the need for
    additional commercial services, if the need arises.

    Travel to other parts of Japan:

    Australians should exercise a high degree of caution in parts of Japan
    unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami. You should carefully consider
    your need to undertake such travel at this time due to the disruption to
    transport hubs in and around Tokyo. You should also consider the disruption
    from rolling power cuts on your travel plans in other parts of Japan.

    Australians in the affected areas should monitor local news and radio and
    follow the advice of local authorities in the first instance. Radio
    stations in the Tokyo area that have emergency information in English
    include the US Armed Forces station at 810AM and InterFM(76.1FM).

    If you are in Japan and require assistance, you can contact the Australian
    Embassy in Tokyo on 03 5232 4111 and you will be transferred to the Crisis
    Centre in Canberra.

    If concerned about friends and relatives: If you are concerned about
    Australians in Japan you should in the first instance try to contact them
    directly. If this is unsuccessful, you can contact the Department of
    Foreign Affairs and Trade 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261
    3305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (within Australia).

    This bulletin should be read in conjunction with our travel advice for
    Japan on www.smartraveller.gov.au.


    DFAT Crisis Centre
    Canberra, Australia
  • 18 Mar 2011 1:59 AM | Anonymous
    The following travel advisory has been reviewed and reissued.

    JAPAN :    The overall level of the advice has increased to "High degree of
    caution".  It contains new information in the Summary and under Earthquake
    and Tsunami of 11 March (Australians should not travel to Tokyo and
    northern Honshu unless their presence in Japan is essential. Australians in
    these areas should leave unless their presence in Japan is essential). It
    also contains latest advice from the Australian Radiation Protection and
    Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on exposure to radiation arising from
    nuclear incidents in Japan. It contains a link to the ARPANSA website. The
    level of the advice for northern Honshu (including Tokyo and surrounding
    districts) has been increased to “Do not travel”. The overall level of the
    advice for Japan has increased to “Exercise a high degree of caution”.

    For a full text of the revised advisory, please refer to:

    http://www.smartraveller.gov.au

    The following information has been copied from the ARPANSA website

    Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan - 18 March 2011: TIME: 0300

    Exclusion Zone extended for Australians in Japan: ARPANSA and the Department of Health and Ageing has been continually assessing the nuclear situation in Japan and has recommended, as a precautionary measure, that Australians within an 80 km zone from the Fukushima nuclear power plant to move out of the area.

    This is a precautionary measure only as the situation in Japan is unstable.

    Over night the US made a similar recommendation in accordance with the standard guidelines of their Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their guidelines would require a zone of 80 km (50 miles) around the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    The Department of Health and Ageing and ARPANSA believe this is prudent advice as a precautionary measure.

    While information on radiation levels and wind direction appear unchanged the situation at the power plant is not stable and it is unclear what will evolve.

    Note that this recommendation is not based on any current danger in the zone, but is a precautionary measure based on the current uncertainty.

    ARPANSA is closely following the safety issues surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi site and in particular the current status of effect of hydrogen explosions, fire and aftershocks on the four reactor units and the status of spent fuel ponds at a number of the reactor units. ARPANSA notes that this event has still been rated by the Japanese Government as an INES level 4 (an accident with local consequences).

    The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has caused major damage to a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan. The Japanese Government has established an evacuation zone around the affected reactors and is responding to the crisis as it evolves.

    It remains the case that although unlikely, there is a small chance of exposure to radiation, at very low levels, for people who were in the Fukushima area and an isolated area near Onagawa prior to noon on 15 March 2011. The health effects from exposure at these low levels are considered very low to negligible.

    For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on current information, ARPANSA advises that, given the projected wind conditions for the next 48 hours which are heading in a south east direction, any radioactivity that may eventuate from a deterioration in the current status of any of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor units, would be dispersed over the sea and would reduce intensity the further away from the reactor site.

    Given these current conditions there is no potential for exposure to Australia or countries within the region which would have any health impacts.

    As the situation continues to develop, all Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to continue to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government. This may include sheltering. In addition, if there is any indication of contamination or if there is any doubt about contamination, this contamination is easily removed by washing your body and clothes.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine tablets are only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses. There is no current need for those returning from Japan or those in Japan outside the exclusion Zone to consider the use of potassium iodide tablets.

    Meetings have been held with GP representatives, the Department of Health and Ageing, and ARPANSA to ensure that people who present with inquiries about radiation exposure will receive consistent advice.

    Discussions are ongoing between jurisdictions. Further information will continue to be provided as the situation develops.

    Media contact: 02 6289 7400

    Current Official Exclusion Zones

    Image of exclusion zones

    Figure 1 (Click to enlarge)


  • 17 Mar 2011 4:33 PM | Anonymous
    The following travel advisory (and travel bulletin) has been reviewed and
    reissued.

    JAPAN :    The overall level of the advice remains at "Be alert to own
    security".  It contains new information in the Summary and under Earthquake
    and Tsunami of 11 March (Australians should not travel within 80 kilometres
    of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Okumacho in Fukushima Prefecture as
    a precautionary measure and latest advice from the Australian Radiation
    Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) on exposure to radiation
    arising from nuclear incidents in Japan).

    http://www.smartraveller.gov.au

    Please refer to the website for the most up-to-date issue of the travel
    advice.


    DFAT Crisis Centre Coordinator
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    Crisis Centre Coordinator
  • 16 Mar 2011 8:06 AM | Anonymous
    From the DFAT Crisis Centre

    This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It contains new information in
    the Summary and under Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March (latest advice
    from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency on
    exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan). It contains
    a link to the ARPANSA website. The overall level of the advice has not
    changed.

    Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan
    The Department of Health and Ageing and Australian Radiation Protection and
    Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure
    to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on information
    from Japanese authorities:
    The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has
    caused major damage to a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of
    Japan. The Japanese Government has established an evacuation zone around
    the affected reactors.
    The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has
    been closely monitoring the situation, in particular the potential exposure
    to radiation of Australians in Japan.
    Based on advice from the Japanese government and the International Atomic
    Energy Agency, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety
    Agency (ARPANSA) reports that, although unlikely, there is a small chance
    of exposure to radiation, at very low levels, for people who were in the
    Fukushima area and for people who were in the Fukushima area or areas
    affected by radioactive releases since 12 March 2011. The health effects
    from exposure at these low levels are considered very low to negligible.
    For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on
    current information, ARPANSA advises that since the winds are presently
    blowing off shore from the Fukushima area they are extremely unlikely to be
    contaminated and the health risks are negligible. As the situation
    develops, all Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to continue to
    follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government.
    Given the very low risk of exposure, ARPANSA advises that people should
    have no physical symptoms. If there is any doubt about contamination this
    contamination is easily removed by washing your body and clothes.
    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be
    contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require
    checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice
    they should contact their local GP.
    Meetings are being held with GP representatives, the Department of Health
    and Ageing, and ARPANSA to discuss the provision of consistent advice to
    those who present with inquiries about radiation exposure.
    Discussions are ongoing between jurisdictions. Further information will be
    provided as the situation develops.
    Advice to Australians remaining in Japan
    Current Situation
    The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has
    damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan. The
    Japanese Government has imposed evacuation zones and shelter in place zones
    around affected reactors in Fukushima prefecture. These protective action
    zones may be revised by the Japanese government as circumstances change.
    ARPANSA will update its advice as events develop.
    What do I do?
    Australians remaining in Japan should follow any protective measures
    recommended by the Japanese government. This may include evacuation or
    shelter in place orders.
    Australians remaining in Japan should not travel to the exclusion zones.
    ARPANSA and the Chief Medical Officer advise that iodine prophylaxis is
    only required when exposed to substantial radiation doses. It is not
    considered necessary for Australians remaining outside protective action
    zones.
    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?
    Radiation health effects are related to the magnitude and duration of
    exposure. Low level radiation exposure produces no physical symptoms. There
    is no specific test available for low level exposure and no treatment is
    required.
    Australians in Japan may find www.mofa.go.jp/ an helpful English language
    website with local information.
    Advice to Australians returning from Japan who have concerns about possible
    exposure to radiation
    Current Situation
    The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has
    damaged a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan. The
    Japanese Government has established evacuation zones around the affected
    reactors in Fukushima prefecture. The Japanese government is providing
    regular updates on required exclusion zones.
    Based on advice from the Japanese government the Australian Radiation
    Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) reports that, although
    unlikely, there is a small chance of exposure to radiation, at very low
    levels, for people who were in the Fukushima area or areas affected by
    radioactive releases since 12 March 2011.
    The health effects from exposure at these low levels are considered very
    low to negligible.
    If you were in Japan, but outside these areas ARPANSA advises that you are
    extremely unlikely to have been exposed to even low levels of radiation.
    What to do if you are worried?
    The Japanese government have been screening people where they believe this
    is necessary. Residual contamination from low levels of exposure is readily
    removed by showering, washing your body, hair and clothes.
    For very low levels of radiation exposure there is no specific test
    available and no treatment is required. However, if on return to Australia
    you and your family are concerned you should visit your local GP and let
    them know where in Japan you were.
    What are the symptoms of radiation exposure?
    Given the low levels of possible exposure no physical symptoms of radiation
    exposure are expected to be observed.
    Again, if on your return you feel unwell, you should visit your local GP.
    Current as at 2200 hrs (AEDST) on 16 March 2011. This information will be
    updated every six hours or more frequently as required.
  • 15 Mar 2011 11:54 PM | Anonymous
    The travel advice for Japan has been reviewed and reissued. It contains the latest advice from the Australians Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan.
    The text is repeated below. You can also access the travel advice at www.smartraveller.gov.au

    The Department of Health and Ageing and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has issued the following advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan, based on information from Japanese authorities:

    The recent earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday 11 March has caused major damage to a number of nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan. The Japanese Government has established an evacuation zone around the affected reactors.

    ARPANSA has been closely monitoring the situation, in particular the potential exposure to radiation of Australians in Japan.

    ARPANSA advises that there is a small chance of contamination at very low levels for Australians who were in the Fukushima area at the time of the incident. The risk of health effects from exposure at these low levels is considered very low to negligible. Australians who were in the affected area at the time of the incident should continue to follow the advice of Japanese authorities.

    For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on current information, ARPANSA advises that they are extremely unlikely to be contaminated and the health risks are negligible. As the situation develops, all Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to continue to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government.

    Given the very low risk of exposure, ARPANSA advises that people should have no physical symptoms. If there is any doubt about contamination this contamination is easily removed by washing your body and clothes.

    Australians returning home from Japan are highly unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish to seek medical advice they should contact their local GP.

    Meetings are being held with GP representatives, the Department of Health and Ageing, and ARPANSA to discuss the provision of consistent advice to those who present with inquiries about radiation exposure.

    Discussions are ongoing between jurisdictions. Further information will be provided as the situation develops.

    *Current as at 2200 hours (AEDST) on 15 March 2011.  This information will be updated every six hours or more frequently as required.*

    If you require consular assistance you can contact the Australian Embassy in Tokyo on 03 5323 4144 and you will be transferred to the Crisis Centre.



    DFAT Crisis Centre
  • 12 Mar 2011 9:39 PM | Anonymous
    All Australians in Japan should register their contact details with DFAT on the following website
    https://www.orao.dfat.gov.au/orao/weborao.nsf/homepage?Openpage
    Please pass this message on to family and friends. The process will only take minutes to complete.

    Earthquake advice from the Tokyo International Communication Committee
    including Survival Kit.
    http://www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/kinkyu/05.html

    Our thoughts are with all affected by this devastating event.
    Please take care and stay safe.

    Beynon Louey
    AST Webmaster

    News below has been taken from the News Centre of the Australian Embassy Tokyo
    http://www.australia.or.jp/en/news/

    Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

    On 11 March 2011, a large earthquake off the east coast of Japan generated a tsunami. Australians in affected areas should monitor the media for safety information and follow the instructions of local authorities.

    If you have concerns for the welfare of family and friends who you believe to have been in the affected areas, you should first attempt to contact them directly.

    If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 (Within Australia) or +61 2 6261 3305 (Outside Australia).

    Australian in areas that have been badly affected by the earthquakes and tsunami are requested to call or email the Australian Embassy in Tokyo if you have not already done so. Please call 03-5232-4111 or email auscitzreg.tokyo@dfat.gov.au.


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