News FocusTohoku-Oki Earthquake

Schoolyard Radiation Policy Brings a Backlash

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  20 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6032, pp. 909
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6032.909

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


The Japanese government has made a number of missteps during the 2-month-long Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. But the most controversial may have been the release of guidelines from the education ministry on allowable radiological contamination in schoolyards. They seem to allow children to accumulate radiation exposures of 20 millisieverts (mSv) over the course of a year. By comparison, nuclear industry workers in Japan can absorb no more than 100 mSv per year; the limit for U.S. nuclear personnel is 50 mSv per year. The 19 April announcement unleashed a torrent of criticism from civic groups and experts.