Dose reduction actions
It looks like the Japanese have started to take actions to lower doses and dose rates. One action has been the removal of the top layer of soil from school property. Due to the fact that children are still growing they are regarded as being more sensitive to the induction of cancer by radiation. I hold the view that this is the reason why no person under the age of 16 is allowed to become a radiological worker, also up to the age of 18 the occupational dose limits are lower than they are for a fully grown up radiological worker.
20 mSv per year is a normal classified radiation worker limit in Europe, some countries such as Sweden and the Czech Republic have both 1 year and 5 year limits but it still works out as 20 mSv per year.
While the general public (including children) are limited to 1 mSv of occupational exposure per year. It is important to know that none of these limits include medical exposure or the background. Many (if not all) people in the UK get more than 1 mSv from their natural background exposure.
One of the acts which the Japanese have gone for is to remove the top layer of soil from school yards. For children in some ways play is part of their work, so additional radiation doses from their play should be considered under the laws regulating radiation exposure at work. So using the ‘As Low As Reasonably Possible’ (ALARP) principle a choice has been made to limit outdoor activities. When I read the phrase ‘outdoor activities’ I imagine that this includes skipping, playing ‘bulldog’, ‘what is the time Mr Wolf ?’ and other childhood fun activities.
The good news is that in order to allow outdoor fun to be resumed dose reduction work has been done. I can not say when the work will be finsihed or how well it will work but I view this work as a important activity which will help protect the public.