by Geoff Brumfiel / via Nature / February 20, 2013 /
After two turbulent years on the job, the head of Fukushima prefecture’s massive survey to understand the health effects of the 2011 Japanese nuclear accident is stepping down. Shunichi Yamashita, a radiation health expert from Nagasaki University, told Nature by e-mail that he will leave his post at the end of March.
The Fukushima Health Management Survey is an ambitious project to chronicle any adverse health effects arising from the three meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, caused by the tsunami and magnitude-9 earthquake off the coast of Japan on 11 March 2011. The survey’s goals include estimating the dose received by the prefecture’s 2.05 million residents, thyroid screening of tens of thousands of children who may have been exposed to radioactive iodine-131, and understanding the mental-health consequences of the accident.