Frequently Asked Questions - Radiation effects

During the Fukushima incident, a large amount of radioactivity was released in the environment. For a large part the activity came in the sea water, for a smaller part on the land. The zone directly surrounding the nuclear power plant is still not accessable. In other places in Japan, the radiation levels are not or only slightly increased, compared to normal background levels of radiation. Even during the first weeks after the incident, these levels were still quite low.
 
The radiation dose you are expected to receive during your visit to Japan is hardly more than the normal background radiation dose, and much less even than the dose you will receive during the flight because of cosmic radiation.
 

Nuclear radiation (or better: ionising radiation) can not be perceived by human senses, so you can not feel it. When the radiation dose in the skin is very high, e.g. during radiotherapy, reactions in the skin cells may lead to itching and in extreme cases to painful skinburns. These reactions are not instantaneous, but can only be felt some time afterwards, just like sunburn. The pain in the skin can not help as a warning to irradiation.
 
Some people have reported that they could feel if an X-ray apparatus was switched on or not, by some sensations in their skin. These people were found not to feel tingling because of the X-rays themselves, but because of static electricity that is formed in the air as a result of the radiation.